Group members: Siyu Sun, Yueming Gao, Maryam Dehghani, Victoria Gottardi
To generate ideas for a project involving interaction, we considered the type of interaction, physical tools related to motion and interactions, and how to interact. This led us to the initial idea of a pet robot.Given that our equipment was limited to a robotic arm, we decided to model the actions of a cat’s paw and incorporate playful movements.
As we progressed, this concept evolved and became more refined. Ultimately, we settled on the idea of a cat’s paw that displays movement and behaviour that the viewer can communicate with and develop a connection to.
- Pet Therapy
Pet therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy (AAT), is a type of therapy that involves trained animals interacting with people. The animals are trained to interact calmly and gently with people and are often used in hospitals, nursing homes, and schools to provide emotional support and companionship to patients and students.
- Research questionIs it possible to create an interactive and collaborative Naughty Robocat and can all of our separate components work together to create a fun, inviting, and somewhat stress free work environment?
- The Loona Robot: This is an adorable robotic pet. Some people find comfort in interacting with robotic animals, as they can provide a sense of companionship without the potential allergies, mess, or responsibility of caring for a live pet. (https://keyirobot.com/products/loona)
- PARO Therapeutic Robot: This is an advanced interactive robot developed by AIST, a leading Japanese industrial automation pioneer. It allows the documented benefits of animal therapy to be administered to patients in environments such as hospitals and extended care facilities where live animals present treatment or logistical difficulties. (http://www.parorobots.com/index.asp)
- Laser Cut for Cat paw
To create a robotic arm that resembles a cat’s paw, we began by altering its appearance in the first phase. This involved utilizing a laser cutting machine and acrylic craft felt sheet to make a glove-shaped covering that shows the form of a cat’s paw. Then we placed this covering over the robotic arm.
- Interactive Interface – Arduino& Robot
However, in order to increase engagement with the audience, we decided to include a touch sensor to initiate the arm’s movements. The Arduino was set up under the table. And the sensor was hidden under the sheet.
We design different movements for two Robot State: State 1st is usually like a cat observing the environment tentatively. State 2nd is the cat doing something for the environment.
- Working environment
Ultimately, we aimed to simulate a real-life setting by creating a suitable environment and positioning a person in a workspace. Instead of a live cat, we used a robotic arm in this space. By incorporating familiar cat’s behavior and making slight adjustments to the arm’s appearance, we endeavored to evoke a sense of owning a pet similar to the real-life experience for humans.
As we expand the range and diversity of the movements, it is possible that we may observe more interactions between the robot and humans than exist in traditional robot-human relationships.
- To Mimic a cat
In the next phase, we focused on modifying the movements of the robotic arm to emulate the desired actions. Our goal was to replicate the natural behavior of a cat, while also incorporating playful and mischievous movements, such as touching an object and suddenly knocking it over with a swift motion.
- Three movements of robot cat
Slapping the cup
Patting a new toy
- We had to consider how the robot arm’s movements would affect our created environment, as some movements did not go as planned. (knocking over a plant and hitting the laptop).
- The pig was too soft to be recognized by the touch sensor, so we had to adapt by taping a hard object (in this case a USB stick) on the bottom of it. Even then, it took many tries to get the USB stick to touch the sensor successfully.
For this assignment, we considered the use of animal therapy robots, such as PARO, the therapeutic robot. However, we aimed to develop an animal robot that could potentially help people in the workplace. Our cat robot, “The Naughty Robocat,” would serve as a companion in the workplace, helping to destress the environment and provide workers with a fun, healthy distraction and break from their work as they interact with the Robocat.
As we considered the interactions that The Naughty Robocat would perform, we began to address some important questions. The established interactions would be collaborative between us, the Robocat, and a touch sensor attached to an Arduino. Currently, the project requires the use of one human in a simulated work environment. Other humans behind the scenes would oversee preplanning the Robocat’s movements through two different robot states, which would then be carried out when the human in the work environment interacts with the touch sensor while working.
In future work, our project can be extended to explore other aspects, such as designing more interactions between humans and robotic cats, investigating whether robotic cats can have different reactions to users’ actions, and exploring the possibility of playing games together between robotic cats and humans. Researching these issues can help us delve deeper into the relationship between humans and robots.
Video URL: https://vimeo.com/819194839
Robot script URL: https://github.com/vicisnotokay/NaughtyRobocat_Script
Arduino/processing code URL: https://github.com/vicisnotokay/TouchSensorCode