Authors: Sebastian, J.,Hsu, L.S.,Yeh-Liang Hsu
(2016-01-24); Recommend: Yeh-Liang Hsu (2016-01-24).
Note: This paper was presented in Symposium on Engineering, Medicine and Biology Applications(SEMBA),Taoyuan, Tawain, 2016/01/22-24.
Implementation of robotic
features to everyday objects for interaction with older adults
proposes the possibility of adding robotic features to everyday objects,
combining the techniques of classic animation and robotic design to create a
new type of simple robots capable of interacting with older adults at home,
denominated “caricature robots”.
Keywords: Interaction, caricature robots, robotic motion design
Introduction: Caricature Robots
appearance design, robots can be divided into humanoid robots and non-humanoid
robots. A caricature robot can be described as “a non-humanoid robot that can
show simplified humanoid motions in exaggerated ways.” To achieve that
illusion, three key elements should be met in a caricature robot:
functionality, simplicity in motion and personality, which we will expand later
in this paper. While interaction for every older adult can be different, users
are allowed to personalize their caricature robot by creating their own set of
motions and personas that suits their personal needs. The MusicMouth project is
used to exemplify caricature robots, more specifically this paper focuses on
the robotic speaker named “Jimmy” [Figure 1]. Jimmy is a regular speaker with
robotic features that allow a range of motions that accompany the sound
received from an audio input. This way of simple expression serves as a simple
physical representation of emotion transmitted through Jimmy.
Figure 1. Jimmy, the
THREE KEY ELEMENTS OF A cARICATURE ROBOT
robots, while being non complicated robots; they achieve interaction and can
become part of households due to their unique characteristics, that do not rely
on the esthetics only but on their core function and motion design to be able
to express emotions through simple mechanisms. These key elements combined in a
caricature robot are:
Functionality:This is the first element of a caricature robot, and it determines
where and how a caricature robot is included in a household. For example,
Jimmy’s core function is to function as a speaker and its inclusion in a
household would be where a speaker is needed at.
motion: The mechanisms in a caricature added to the
original function of the object allows robotic motions, which are expected to
be simple but enough to generate expressive motions. This contrasts with most
humanoid robots in which their sophisticated mechanism allow a very complete
set of motions, caricature robots use a very small amount of degrees of freedom
that to achieve expressive motions.
Personality: To achieve this illusion of expressive
motion, a caricature robot depends on the personality given to it. This
personality is based on the design of the robotic motions and their
combinations. This motion design are fully based on principles of cartoon
character design and animation used by animators and artists around the world. [Thomas, F. et al., 1995] which can be combined in a robotic body to
achieve an almost life-like expression in a non-humanoid robot. These
Squash and stretch
Straight ahead and pose
to pose animation
Follow through and
Slow-out and slow-in
Of all 12 principles above, the “solid drawing”
principle is the only one that cannot be fully applied to a mechanical body yet
can be used in the facial expression design.
Method, Materials and Concepts
possibilities of allowing users to build their own robot, Jimmy has been fully
3d printed. [Figure 2] Jimmy offers a “snap, power and play” feature that opens
the possibilities for anyone to have a robot at home and personalize it if
Figure 2. 3D printed parts to build the skeleton
allows users to take the pieces of the robot and build in a simple way or even
adventure into customizing 3D files for 3D printing and modify to fit into
their lifestyle or personal requirement. The different pieces in Jimmy contain
magnetic an embedment that “snaps” all pieces into place. Jimmy does not
require any special software to work neither requires special robotic knowledge
to function, this is where the “power and play” characteristics of it comes
expression and adaptive robotic body is only possible through the “Body,
Cerebellar and Brain” control structure [Figure 3]. That keep all sets and
commands in a software level yet not on the hardware. Jimmy’s input can be
provided by an audio source like an audio device or even a smart device. This
input is controlled by the micro processing unit and executes the commands to
control the servo and motor that give life to Jimmy.
Figure 3. Jimmy’s IT structure
Caring for Older Adults
Jimmy’s IT structure
allows it to have many usages and to be adaptive to the different needs that a
caregiver might have. Figure 4 shows three possible scenarios in which Jimmy
can be used in a house hold. While having a smart device connected to Jimmy, it
can become a very simple alarm system and reminder for different users to aid
them in their daily chores. This implicates that also important things like
daily medication reminders and exercise times can be set up as part of the
daily routine an older adult can have.
Figure 4. Basic scenario of Jimmy in a household
Jimmy opens the
possibility for households that are far apart can have a physical way of
interaction through a robotic body. This simplicity of usage, allows caregivers
and family members to interact with older adults that live independently or in
a nursing homes. Offering a frontal approach to aiding to the loneliness that
many older adults manifest while living independently or in nursing homes
[Kane, M. et al., 2013].
of robotic features to daily use objects opens the possibility of allowing the
use of technology at homes without being intrusive or foreign to the household.
Caricature robots open the gate to create simple robots that can have
expressive motions and bring to life a daily use object, such is the case of
Jimmy, the speaker with robotic features. This expressiveness is based on
character design and animation principles used by artist all over the world.
Jimmy’s design has focused in the ease of usage, by implementing a snap, power
and play system. Jimmy’s body, cerebellar and brain control structure allows it
to adapt better to a household and be controlled as needed by the user. By
being not invasive or foreign to the household, this robotic features added to
this daily use object, opened a broader way of usages to the same object.
Caricature robots are aimed to aid and accompany older adults in their daily
tasks, focusing in the “playfulness” and fun factor of having a robot at home.
 Thomas, F., Johnston, O., & Frank. Thomas. (1995). The
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