Mission driven Social Robots

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Anna Schaffner (DE)


Soft Collision


The project shifts our approach on human-machine interaction and turns collision into a tool for collaboration. Collisions in close space are almost inevitable, rather than to fear the impact, the project embraces collision, as a new approach for human -machine collaboration.

Human-human collaboration relies on the subtle quality of body movement in space. In order to achieve a form of collaboration, it would then, be necessary to think the interaction between robot and human by valuing the body language in act. The design of a new robotic membrane will demonstrate that a form of interaction between human and robot through body language, is possible. From a technology design point of view; The sensitive membrane focuses on two aspects. A material-based experimentation, looking at creating an expendable and sensitive membrane. That should lead to a new valuation of the robot as a potential collaborator in the eyes of the human.

If the human is aware that the robot has the capacity to sense the touch, would his reaction change and improve his feeling of security? The parts of the robot inspired by soft robotics are thought to reinforce this notion of trust. 
The haptic and warm forms of an inflated membrane, invite to a body encounter. The design of a soft interface allows the creation of muscle-like motion, which will be perceive as form of biological movements.

Relatable to the human ́s own kinetic behavior, it can make the interaction smooth and intuitive. So instead of avoiding the collision within a tight and closed space, through a flexible membrane and sensors the collision becomes a tool for collaboration. Not only does this flexible interface allow to achieve a more embodied communication, but it also provides the possibility to adapt to a variety of tasks such as the manipulation of fragile objects.

From a technology design point of view, project offers a unique opportunity to examine the traces left by the built environment in the form of debris. The mosaic will be made using tiles found on demolition sites from various locations. Each site will be selected based on extensive research, with the main criteria being historical and social background. The approach combines traditional mosaic-making techniques leveraging the precision and consistency of robotics and computer vision to create a unique and innovative composition that is scalable and flexible.

This, in turn, will lead to the challenge of working with non-standard geometries, such as construction debris. The obstacle will provide an opportunity to innovate and create a new technological procedure to tackle this problem.

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