Assignment: robot(?) / interactive artwork

You have three options for this assignment on Actuators:

1. Make a “social robot”: not necessarily a proper robot (we don’t have the equipment for that) but a machine that produce a life-like behavior that exploit the Eliza Effect.
Remember the Furby guy:
– expressive character (eyes, face)
– response to the environment
– unpredictable/evolving behavior the illusion of life often comes from a non-direct mapping of the input. If the input is used as a switch and the behavior is purely deterministic the object will appear as smart as a blender. If you implement some kind of processing and memory you are more likely to produce the Eliza effect.

2. Make a stand-alone interactive artwork that responds to the environment.

For both the options the only requirement is an input-process-output cycle. The thing has to receive an input from a sensor and produce a meaningful output through motor and or servo and/or LEDs or piezo speaker.

*Let me know by the end of the class if you want to use my distance sensor or my 3axis accelerometer.

*Modifying existing toys is another way to go. Electronic toys may offer more possibilities but hacking miniaturized and undocumented printed circuits is hard.

*You can combine microphone input via Processing (first assignment) with actuators.

*For example this is how you play sound files in Processing through Minim

import ddf.minim.*;

Minim minim;
AudioPlayer song;

void setup()
  size(100, 100);

  minim = new Minim(this);

  // this loads mysong.wav from the data folder
  song = minim.loadFile("mysong.wav");;

void draw()

void stop()


“Advanced” students could try to use processing with other libraries.
For example with openCv you can track a colored object or a face fairly easily (and if you have an external webcam you can try to mount it on the servo an make it follow the shape)

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