Project theme: Sweep the Duck
Nature of interaction: mainly collaborative with one human involved, and the human is in charge. Slightly self-competitive, from the robot’s perspective.
Focus: sending data to the robot
Physical tool designed: sweeper tool, using the robot’s gripper as part of the tool.
Related motion/interaction: left to right to sweep, open to close to obtain prize.
Question investigated: Can robots play to win?
Project 2 is called ‘Sweep the Duck’, which centres around the themes of youthfulness, fun, and teamwork. The question we sought to answer through this project looks at if robots can play to win. More specifically, whether robots can perform a specific movement and receive accurate results repeatedly. In Sweep the Duck, using the fish as an attachment to your arm, also known as your sweeper, the goal is to sweep the duck across the pond, so it can reach the sunflower pad. If the duck touches the sunflower pad, you progress to the next level, where the sunflower pad is slightly farther in distance. If you win three levels, you get a prize at the end of the game. The game is meant to be friendly with encouraged positive reinforcement, through assistive interaction. There are no losses. In this game setting, the robot acts as the player, and the human acts as the game referee and assistive coach. The game is self-competitive and collaborative in nature. From this project, we were able to deduce that robots can perform specific movements accurately, but not necessarily precisely. The outcome of specific movements is not only dependent on the robot, but they are also dependent on supporting factors within its environment.
The themes for project 2 are inspired by children’s fishing games, mini golf, and play-to-win games at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE).
Elements and characters in the setting
|Elements and Characters
||The main character in the story. Aims to win a prize by sweeping the duck toward the sunflower pad. Does not always have precise aim.
||The secondary character in the story. Aims to help the robot win the game, by re-positioning the duck. Gives the robot their prize at the end.
||The secondary ‘character’ in the story. Aims to reach the sunflower pad with the effort from the robot.
|The sweeper arm tool
||Rather than creating a separate individual tool, I decided to create a tool that acts as an attachment to the robot’s arm/gripper. I was inspired by intelligent robots as seen in movies or in video games (below), who have these capabilities built in.
||Is the designated goal for the duck and robot.
||Blue-green tissue paper colours aims to mimic water in a pond.
|The robot’s prize
||A box of sour candy. (In this story, the robot loves candy, particularly sour tasting flavours).
Figures from left to right: A) Robot’s fish sweeper to propel the duck, B) Successfully brings duck to the sunflower pad, C) Human brings robot its prize, D) Robot takes its prize.
As the themes for this project centred around youthfulness, fun, and collaboration/teamwork, sound effects were used to support the scene’s approach. The camera angle is from the perspective of the human, with a realistic feel. Slight post-production effects were used to help put the clips together and create the scene atmosphere, by using iMovie video editing software. As the cinematography was filmed by one person, it was difficult to coordinate multiple parts in one continuous filming. As such, filming was broken down into chunks. The minor editing post-production helped to bring all the filmed clips together.
Behind the scenes – the process and exploration
Figures from left to right: A) Attempting to sweep the duck to the sunflower, B) Protective stop from robot’s software, C) Duck landed successfully on sunflower via touchpad control, D) Multiple attempts of duck landing on sunflower via offline animation control, E) robot picking up its prize with gripper activation.
Script file: https://ocadu.yuja.com/m/sweepduckdotscript
Key challenges and insights during the process
- It was difficult to film as one person, using one hand, while balancing the timing of the filmed clips versus the robot’s movements. In future production, I hope to utilize access to a supportive device, such as a tripod, to assist me with filming a solo project.
- Grip vs blundering. Sometimes the duck would get stuck right underneath the sweeper/robot’s gripper, due to the speed of the robot’s movement or due to the texture of the scene’s man-made setting. This triggered the protective stop from the robot’s software. This was overcome by strategic positioning of the duck. In future production, I would like to consider more slippery textures to utilize as a strategy to reduce friction between objects.
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