I regularly read the robot-oriented BotJunkie blog. Evan Ackerman, the Bot-Junkie-in-Chief, covers everything from military flying robots to frivolous toy robots. There’s a lot of research these days into robots that show emotion, and I was struck by the difference in approaches used by different teams. Here is the creepy and uncanny Albert Einstein emoting robot.
Follow the link to watch the video, but it’s not very impressive. Getting the face just right turns out to be a difficult path to convincing emotion. But now watch what little Keepon can do with a yellow-blob body, cartoony eyes and nose, and some serious dance move mojo.
Who would you want to have over for dinner, creepy Al, or squeezeable Keepon? Everybody loves Keepon.
The same idea of emotional behavior is behind this robot that can’t figure out how to plug itself in. It needs help from a passing human, and it knows it. Don’t try to look human. Just act cute: by begging, it gets the response it needs. Here’s the concept video.
Maybe there’s a reason that the word emotion is mostly motion.