Soft, social robot brings coziness to home robotics #Robotics #MakeRobotFriend @cornellnews

Via Cornell News: how many social robots all look alike thought Guy Hoffman –

“I noticed a lot of them had a very similar kind of feature – white and plasticky, designed like consumer electronic devices,” said Hoffman, assistant professor and the Mills Family Faculty Fellow in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “Especially when these social robots were marketed to be part of our families, I thought it would be strange to all have identical family members.”

He envisioned robots built from warmer, homier materials, such as wood and wool; he also imagined robots that could be customized by their owners, so each would be unique. A friend gave him crocheted models of his robots and he thought: What if the robot itself was crocheted? So he learned to crochet.

These ideas led Hoffman to create Blossom – a simple, expressive, inexpensive robot platform that could be made from a kit and creatively outfitted with handcrafted materials.

Blossom’s mechanical design – developed with Michael Suguitan, a doctoral student in Hoffman’s lab and first author of the paper – is centered on a floating “head” platform using strings and cables for movement, making its gestures more flexible and organic than those of a robot composed of rigid parts.

See the video below and read more on Cornell News here.

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