Emoto - by Gautam Bose, Marisa Lu, Lucas Ochoa
Emoto is an application and hardware attachment for a smartphone that turns the phone into an interactive, moving robot that can communicate.
I am particularly drawn to the way that the robot uses eyes and physical movements to express emotions and communicate. It extends interactions with the smartphone into a much more human space, turning the device into something more like a pet. It also takes the Amazon Echo approach to device interaction (talking and no touching), but places it into a much more personal shell.
Creating the project definitely involved the creation of custom scripts, as the phone need to be able to interface with the arm it sits on. There is likely some inclusion of non-original software, as well, although I am not totally sure.
The creators were likely inspired by Amazon Echo and other home assistant AIs. The expressive eyes and motion of the robot were likely inspired by the movie Wall-E, which manages to get an incredibly high degree of expressiveness simply with moving eyes and physical movement.
The project provides a more interesting interaction than products like the Echo, while not losing a promise of any of the functionality. I'm not sure if the creators have any intention of continuing the project, but if they did, I could see it providing a better way to interact emotionally with the smartphone.
The website for the project can be found here: emotoai.com