"Design of a soft actuator using Shape-memory Alloy for Soft Hand-held Social Robot Emot"
Text messages, video calls, social medias we meet every day through smartphones have changed the way of sharing the moment. However, interaction through a 2D touchscreen does not yet fully reflect our emotions and tactile information, such as the warm and fuzzy feeling of love❤. My goal is to develop a soft robotic smartphone case as an interactive interface that extends the human interaction to 3D space beyond the screen. The whole body is made of soft and squishy material (silicone). It expresses various emotions with moving arms actuated by shape-memory alloy and eyes on the touchscreen that can keep trying to eye contact with you. Also, it is expressive with its body color. It is responsive with embedded pressure sensors that promote tactile interaction.
I am using an Android smartphone for the software of Emot development tool so that Emot has various applications that can interact with users. It has emoji detection app that can express emotions based on your emoji usage during chat, face recognition app for detecting users' emotions based on facial expression, music app that makes Emot responsive to music that user listen and play, notification app that notify any kinds of notification through smartphone as its body movement and eye animation, and lastly, it has a game apps that is controlled by two pressure sensors embedded inside of soft body.The advantage of using a pressure sensor is that it can also detect the magnitude of the force that user applied so that apply that information to control velocity, acceleration etc. of the game character. All of the source code is open-sourced in Github.
The final goal of my research with this robot is to have application both to consumers and to education and rehabilitation of children with autism.
Early prototype of Emot ver.2. When Emot receives a text message including emoji expressing some kinds of emotion, it used to display magnified emojis on the screen in order to use the image as its face.