Alive Enough


Flora Doremus and Nya Rudek
1 / 17

The Process

Emmett Biewald and Josh Feldman
1 / 15

Process Post

Chris Preller and Evy Dibble
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Benjamin Lehv and Ford Chope
1 / 17
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Graham Galts
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Slide 1

The Neck, by Graham Galts

Slide 2

My project, The Neck is a robot that tries to escape humans when they attempt to capture it. However, if they do succeed in grabbing it, the robot instantly dies, and may invoke the emotions of fear and pity. 

Slide 4

My first idea was to have a bottle shaped object that would shake until it fell dead butthat seemed unrealistic, and did not give the appearences of a human.

Slide 5

My next idea was a spider robot that would crawl away from you but this robot was hard to grab and would be way too complicated. Also it had no way to struggle against you except to crawl forward.

Slide 6

I then explored elongated neck ideas but these were hard to make and not very easy to grab as well, but they did allow me to put in the idea of back legs that would hit you, but otherwise do nothing.

Slide 7

I then built a neck prototype that had beams that would work as a robot, but the math behind them was really complicated and would take me much longer than I wanted to make.

Slide 8

Then I started working on ideas that would have a grabbable part at the top but also would allow sufficient space for mechanics on the bottom.

Slide 9

This was my first prototype but I accidentaly made the piece at the front and the back to big so I had to redo it, and there were no holes for anything.

Slide 10

This was a diagram of what I wished to do with the legs. The peg at the back connected to the end of the triangle rotates and spins the entire robot.

Slide 11

This was a prototype of the legs. The main problem I ran into was that the screw on the last peg kept running into the bar, so I doubled the piece and glued them together and then base kept having screw bottoms running into them.

Slide 12

This was my second cardboard prototype which all fit together, except I kindof forgot to add a hole for the back legs.

Slide 13

This slide shows my 2 completed cardboard Klann legs which worked well in cardboard and spun freely.


Nina Cragg and Teresa Lourie
1 / 16

EmotaBot is robot that evokes empathy in users by reacting to neglect in a way that imitates conciousness.

In the developing world of AI (Artificial Intelligence) the concept of conciousness is a prominant topic of discussion. The question everyone is asking is "can machines have conciousness?." Unfortunately, the answer isn't so simple; conciousness is defined by many different abilities and cannot just be measured as a binary answer. For our project, we were tasked with reproducing some of these defining abilities in order to give our robot the appearance of conciousness; specifically its ability to react to abuse. When placed in a confined space, the robot will become increasingly uncomfortable, until it becomes completely panicked. Throughout the process, it expresses its grief with a series of movements and changes in expression. This scenerio is inspired by pet neglect. Pets are often left in their carts/cages by their owners when they become too burensome. We wanted to recreate this situation because we were interested in the passivity of this kind of abuse.

Our project is a spherical bot with an ultrasonic sensor to evaluate its surroundings. It rotates 360 degrees on a stepper and the face moves up and down on a servo. In addition, the face has two micro servos above the eyes for eyebrows, giving it the ability to emulate facial expressions. Our robot is entirely 3D printed with lasercut acrylic circles placed over the outer shell of the bot in order to let an RGB LED shine through. The light will be yet another indicator of the robot's mood.

The Brief

Nya Rudek

The Scaredy Crab brings attention to a highly debated argument when it comes to animals and their grasp on conciseness. This project takes this issue one step further, challenging a robot to trick the user into believing it has conciseness. In order to trigger empathy from the user, The Scaredy Crab reacts to the threat of physical abuse. The Scaredy Crab is easy to relate to because it plays on two different emotions that humans commonly feel: joy and fear. 

This robot's behavior is partially based off a The Scaredy Crab's. It has a shell and scurries around obstacles as a The Scaredy Crab would. The user gets attached to the playful side of this robot, but when they accidentally appear to be stepping on it or threatening it in any physical way, the robot scurries away as an actual animal would. This robot is made with 2 sets triangular wheels going each way, allowing it to switch directions and play around the user. The robot has a sensor attached to the front to direct it and another attached to the body to detect any physical threats. The The Scaredy Crab causes the user to emotionally attach to the robot and realize how quickly humans can feels empathic toward something that isn't even human.

Studio Description

Rosa Weinberg and Spyridon Ampanavos
1 / 1

Artificial intelligence is becoming ubiquitous in today's society from the factory floor to our homes. Sometimes learnt and others hardcoded, the intelligence that informs the behavior of devices such as self driving cars, toys or nursebots functions in a narrow, pre-defined domain. "Alive Enough" is an exploration of what makes something conscious and why us thinking that something is conscious has an effect on us when we interact with it. 

As a way of exploring what consciousness is, we will have class discussions and assign nightly readings and videos. We will also have expert, Freedom Baird, speak with the class. Students will then design and fabricate a robot that in some way makes "us" think that it is conscious. These robots will respond in some way to physical abuse, e.g., pinching, being held upside down, yelled at etc. as a way of understanding how a toy's response to this abuse creates an effect on the user/abuser.