We definately love talking about robots. But more specifically we are talking about "Robots", the exhibition at London Science Museum. We are a bit late to the party in discussing this, but it is still well worth talking about. So here we go.
A bit of background
As the name of the exhibition suggests, it is all about robots. More specifically, charting the 500 year history of humanoid robotics. Curator, Ben Russell, says "I realised early on that it's the humanoids that most fascinate people, because they're so much like us". We were contacted to be part of the exhibition, which equates to a 'who's who' in robotics. Other robots on display include a working example of re:think robotics' Baxter, and a static display of Honda's Asimo.
Special Automation Preparation
The Science Museum requested that the robot exhibit a certain behaviour pattern for it to work for their exhibition. They sent us a script that RoboThespian would perform at scheduled times throughout the day. The rest of the time, RoboThespian would use the integrated facial recognition software and sensors to make eye contact with visitors, recognise their age, gender, mood and amount of people. With all that information he provides an appropriate greeting depending on the time of day. "Good Morning Sir!" "Aren't you shiny happy people?" to name a few. Once given the script, we recorded the voice from our professional voice talent and animated all the sequences using Virtual Robot.
Adored by the Masses
RoboThespian proved to be massively popular with visitors. As can be seen in the following tweets.
Robothespian meets Homothespian pic.twitter.com/tEgVmdhVKk— Paul Kendrick (@PaulyKendrick) 26 April 2017
The Robot (#0108) is a permanent feature in his cubicle in the exhibition. However, for the press launch, the Science Museum wanted to use RoboThespian's great communication skills to their full advantage. On the day of the launch, a second RoboThespian was in attendance to officially open the exhibition. Nothing had been scripted for the launch until the actual day. The flexibility of the RoboThespian platform meant that this wasn't a problem. One of the museum curators used our telepresence software to address the huge crowd of reporters, journalists and camera operators live. RoboThespian nailed it without a flinch.
All new RoboThespians are supplied with the necessary hardware so that the telepresence feature can be purchased and enabled at any time after installation. Owners of older robots can contact us about upgrading their system to incorporate the new and improved telepresence.