Things to check and do: after consultations

After talking to Margaret on Wednesday, she recommended me to watch this talk by Youngmoo Kim, the director of Expressive and Creative Interactive Technology (EXCITE) and a professor at Drexel University. This topic is very relevant to the context of my research, I’m hoping to get in touch with him soon, I thought this video deserves to open my journal entry.

I presented my Warm Robot idea to Ryan, Annet, Margaret, and Alan on wednesday. I got so much valuable feedback and directions. I decided to compile my notes and put it up on my CPJ as well:

Ryan & Annet

Artists to check out to observe from:

After consulting with Alan, for the size of my robot, inflatable might not be the best way to create a breathing pattern, he said a simple mechanical movements and a motor might work better. OMO is a robot that replicates breathing motion after it picks up a breathing motion from its interaction with a breathing being. Studying how the breathing mechanism work in OMO might help me figure out what’s the best way to do the breathing pattern in my work.

The fluid movements of Wolfson’s animatronics that depends on gravity is what express the emotions in the work. How do I implement this in my robot? how do I make a fluid mechanical movements with such limited skill set? Annet asked me, “Does it need to move on its own? Does it need a human control?” And I think it does. I definitely can collaborate with it to create a fluid communication between my robot and the viewers. My thesis GTI also recommended me to check out Tony Oursler‘s works to study the eyes that he projects onto his sculptures to convey expressions through the LCD screens (eye parts) of the robot. what kind of eye shapes and movements will convey its expression the best?

  • John Bell, founder of Great Small Works

If the robot needs a mediator, we could work as puppeteer and the puppet. John Bell wrote Strings, Hands, ShadowsA Modern Puppet History If I’m going to perform as a part of the piece then I have work to do on learning puppetry. I think it’s also a good chance to go back and observe videos of Alexander Calder’s circus.

Collections of early science fiction short stories about the interactions between humans, robots, and morality. I read the summary and it seems to be a western fictional history of robotics, which would be interesting because my knowledge of robotics have always been fictional from the eastern point of view. I definitely needed context from a different point of view.


Aside from the great lecture she recommended me, another set of questions that I should get around is:

  • How to engage my audience, how to keep them engaged
  • Who are my audiences? Are there particular parties I want to target?
  • To be open about one’s emotion, listening to another sharing theirs is a good evoker. Does the robot need a narrative? A history or purpose to tell?


Engineering and programming reality check time!!

  • Breathing movement is difficult to mimic, keep scale in mind. it is still doable! Air pump is not practical, cross out inflatable. mechanical movement and motors would do it better. study from OMO.
  • He had generated a simple algorithm for Erin’s project from last year that might be reusable for my project. It could be used for the switch of heart rate reactions. I should talk to Erin next week about it.
  • My robots seem to have too many elements to be implemented within given deadline, prioritizing a couple would help the process of making and trouble shooting. make a spreadsheet for my timeline!
  • Solenoid would be a better component to use rather than a vibrating motor to mimic heartbeat sensation. It gives a thump rather than vibration.
  • I need to do a research about how fast human heartbeat can change. note: human likes something that’s just a little off from the accurate number. use this to my advantages
  • This whole project would be far easier if I can stick it to a computer so it’s not completely autonomous or rely on arduino much. a Rhino Grasshopper extension such as Node-RED and Firefly would make my life so much easier.
  • Get permission from Lucas (intro to robotics teacher) to make this project as a combined project for the rest of the class!!! His help would be extra extra helpful
  • do a study and try out on Arduino 1 bit DAC PWM
  • I have to work fast, talk to Paul and Alan. make sure they both understand what’s going on and what I’m trying to do with my project and keep each other updated.
  • (From Beth, thesis GTI) other softwares to check on sound, Audacity and DM1