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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

More Social Robotics

Been intrigued by social robots, attempts at making  interactive and friendly devices for the home and elsewhere.  Is this problem solvable before we figure out how to do intelligent conversations between humans and machines?  How much does soft and doll-like buy you in social?   Expecting too much from the Eliza Effect in AI?   I am following several interesting examples.

Blossom: A Handmade Approach to Social Robotics from Cornell and Google  By Evan Ackerman

As excited as we are about the forthcoming generation of social home robots (including Jibo, Kuri, and many others), it's hard to ignore the fact that most of them look somewhat similar. They tend to feature lots of shiny white and black plasticky roundness. That’s for admittedly very good reasons, but it comes at the cost of both uniqueness and visual and tactile personality.

Guy Hoffman, who is well known for the fascinating creativity of his robot designs, has been working on a completely new kind of social robot in a collaboration between his lab at Cornell and Google ZOO's creative technology team in APAC. The robot is called Blossom, and we'd describe it for you, except that it's designed to be handmade out of warm natural materials like wool and wood so that every single one is a little bit different.  ... " 

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