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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Designing Robots with Personality

We always attribute a bit of personality into our devices,  but what amount and kind is useful for the best results, and minimal unintended consequences??

Character Engineer: Designing robots with a touch of personality.

So, Mark Palatucci EAS’00 wants to put a robot in every home.

That might sound familiar. After all, you may even already have one. But Palatucci, a cofounder of the San Francisco-based robotics company Anki, isn’t thinking about task-oriented automatons or self-directed vacuum cleaners. He’s not even thinking about smart speakers. He’s designing robots with “character”—enough to spark an emotional connection with their owners.

“People are much more willing to put a character in their home than they are just some smart cylinder or smart speaker that doesn’t have any emotion or character built around it,” he says. “It creates a sense of trust that a lot of other products don’t necessarily have.”

And if that trust leads to more engagement with the robot—whether it’s playing games with a robot called Cozmo, or getting Vector, another model, to take a picture when your hands are full—all the better.

Anki’s aim in building robots is to enable people to “build relationships with technology that feel a little more human.” Palatucci, who earned a computer science and engineering degree at Penn, is the company’s head of cloud artificial intelligence and machine learning. Their products have been getting notice. .... " 

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