The face of the petting zoo has undergone a huge change thanks to the Minimaforms exhibition. Instead of petting furry little animals, visitors can be seen interacting with long plastic light-up tubes that move around according to the level of interaction visitors show them. This is the first robot petting zoo where the animals are electronic creatures.
The creatures in the robot petting zoo are programmed using Processing to react and communicate with humans in a similar way to animals or other humans. For instance, if a human isn’t really interacting with the robots, then the robots will quickly get bored and look elsewhere. Alternatively, if a human badgers the robots, they could well react with annoyance with some angry swishes. Playful interaction from humans could tease out a mirror reaction or stares of curiosity from the robot.
The robots are processed not to use the same reaction even if humans are interacting with them in a similar way. This is called repetitive controller feedback. Developers wanted to avoid this in order to display a more realistic idea of a true personality and natural reaction from the robots.
The robots track movements and actions of humans using Kinect sensors and a number of cameras. The robots are able to synchronize movements with each other as well as the human visitors. Each animal has its own distinct personality.
The behavior of the robots will evolve and develop over time based on their experience and interaction with the human visitors and each other, just as an actual animal’s would do.
Intelligent Robots With Personality
The robot petting zoo is a step forward for those who are seeking to develop robots which are not only intelligent but which have a sense of a personality. This is achieved by the robots examining and learning from human interaction through the petting zoo environment.
The exhibitions are being held all over the world. Cool or Creepy?
[Image via Youtube]