In this project my team was asked to conceptualize, design, prototype, fabricate and deploy/install an interactive modular system. As we were all beginners to coding except for one team mate, the project was really challenging. We received help in the coding part from teachers to realise our project, but also learned a lot while working on it.
Type of project: Student project
Project time: 8 weeks
Team members: Anandita Punji, Adriaan Oudemans, Gabriela Prattingerová, Carmen Scherbaum, Bea Beatriz
Our process consisted of visualisation, prototyping, testing and iterating on it. We created concept through sketches, identifying parameters we wanted to execute, worked on code and decided which electronic modules to incorperate. The greatest challenge was about bringing the artistic visualisation and processing conceptualisation together and testing the interaction between the bots and the people.
In our society introversion is not highly regarded, whereas extroversion counts as healthy and positive behaviour. In everyday life it is expected from introverted people to act outgoing and representative. This can be observed already in young age, when children are rated by their oral participation in classes or presenting in front of people. Our whole life, we will experience advantages acting extroverted. With this installation, this problem of putting introverted people in the spotlight against their nature, is addressed and questioned.
In a dark room, little introbots are spread around. When people go in there and put their spotlight on these little creatures they will scare away from the light. If too much light is shined on the bots they will fall into panic mode by circling around uncontrollable. Just by leaving the bots alone for a moment, the bots will be able to calm down and go back in their normal state. The visual appearance is creature-like to give a clear sense of direction for the user. Their eyes incorperate the LDR light sensors, which measure the light input. By adding fur and a name for each bot, personalities were created, to make users care more about them. A mp3 module gives the bots the ability to chat and making sounds. LEDs hidden in the bots make clear, that the bots are alive, even when staying calm.
With this installation we can see how people interact with introverted creatures, what feelings they have while interacting and what motivates their actions and if they might even feeling regret by putting the bots out of their comfort zone.
I left the group for the second semester of my masters to work on other projects. The group continued on this project in the meantime. By the end of the year, our team was invited to Sicily, Italy to test the introbots on children. As one spot was free, I jumped back into the project to help out with the preparation of the workshop and assembling the bots. Interesting insights from the workshop were, that the children came up with different background stories to the robots. This was also because, they had different names and slightly different appearance in colour of the fur. Another interesting thing to see, was how the children treated the robots. They pet the fur of the robots. That is why, they were also a little bit disappointed, when the introbots „got tired so fast“. All in all, the workshop was a great experience, I was happy being part of.
Copyright © 2018 Lena Heinrich