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Engineers Develop Innovative Greeter that Welcomes New Arrivals

Engineers Develop Innovative Greeter that Welcomes New Arrivals

A team of international researchers developed a unique type of robot that senses people’s presence and greets them.

The innovative robot that detects human presence and greets them was developed by researchers at Media Innovation Lab at the IDC Herzliya, Israel, in collaboration with a team from Cornell University. However, the robot lacks eyes, arms, or anything that has resemblance with humans, animals, or the conventional robots. Instead, it has just a single pea-size sphere that it uses to greet people as they enter its view.

The researchers developed this simple machine as they were finding out the possibility if such a simple robot could evoke human responses without the use of nonverbal cues such as eye contact. The new device is a flat-bottomed, white sphere about the size of a volleyball. It uses electronic sensors to detect when a person has come into proximity, and a control mechanism for an arm with a magnet on the end of it. Inside the device, a magnet is placed that moves along the interior surface of the sphere, making regulations for its movements and detections outside the sphere.

The team consulted a number of experts to develop a way for the robot to greet people, including puppeteers, animators, choreographers, and even psychologists. They narrowed down eight greetings that could be grouped into two categories: avoid and approach. In the first group, the avoid group, the tiny sphere rolls around behind the larger sphere (relative to the person looking at it) or stops on its side.

Whereas, in the approach group, the sphere rolls to a position where it can be clearly seen by a person looking at it. Variations on these themes include animation, in which the small sphere vibrated, and not animated, which they called straight.



Anagha Kulkarni
Anagha Kulkarni,

Anagha Kulkarni
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