Stefan Schwabe and Burg Giebichenstein of the University of Art and Design Halle have created an emotion-simulating robot called Troblion, which expresses itself as a sphere that moves about an oval sandbox. The autonomous bot is programmed with various sets of rules that determine its movement, each set designed to be interpreted as a type of emotion. The designers have given Troblion additional characteristics that mimic living things, through layers of sand that harden over time as the robot moves through its environment; the bot must adapt over time, shedding layers of skin to change its appearance and continue moving.
The designers explain:
Its naked artificial skin gets hidden in a natural structure. But the more its layer is growing, the heavier it gets. Finally as Troblion is not able to move any more, it needs to shell the sand off by deforming its silicon skin. Not till then it is able to move again. The fragments which remain from the sand layer are leftover pieces of gathered dust which indicate Troblion’s existence in space…
In my theory I discussed what makes artificial and inanimate objects appear to have a soul. I looked at the fundamental definitions of what we feel being natural or artificial, what is life, and how we perceive things that retain some aspects of life in them, and eventually, how these features could lead to new media design, through materiality or behavior, that creates richer objects we interact and interface with in everyday life.
Watch a video demonstration below: