Shall we change this title a bit? hmm?

I just wanted to note my concept down in a nutshell for anyone visiting my blog and being totally bewildered as to what’s going on!

What I’m doing:
I’m offering a user the chance to interact directly with a fictional character from an original story.

The product is a robot’s head wired up to a laptop computer. The user is to use both the computer and address the robot directly in order to discover how the robot came into existence, and what happened to it to leave it in the state it currently occupies.

How I’m doing it:
The robot head is a sculpture (or re-purposed toy) with a webcam and microphone in it. The cam and mic are for the use of the actor that is playing the role of the robot to enable to see, hear, and speak to the user. The user has to firstly activate the robot by following on screen instructions, then then the actor introduces itself and asks for help to remember it’s story. The user helps by asking questions, which the robot can answer both by speaking, and asking the user to interact with the data that is inside it’s head – presented on the computer screen in the form of videos, documents and image files. The user is essentially viewing the robot’s memories, that have been damaged severely. All tasks carried out on the computer will be presented in the after effects software.

What I’m hoping to achieve:
I hope to present a unique point of view for an interactive story. The user will be asked to make a choice whether they will ultimately help the robot regain his former power, or to deactivate it once and for all. This choice comes about by the user asking as many questions as possible in order to reveal the truth about the robot’s past. I hope that the user will have an emotional link with the robot and that the emotions provoked will inform their interaction. I’m offering a user the chance to become directly involved with the continuation of the story.

Inspired by:
The Blair witch project movie, online marketing and book
Donnie Darko Website by Hi-Res
‘Play With Me’ interactive art installation by Van Sowerwine
Alien 3 Movie
Star Wars Episode 3 Movie
Blade Runner Movie
I, robot short stories
Metal Gear Solid character design
Akira anime movie
Guyver (Bio booster armour) Japanese anime series
Chris Crawford’s Storytron software


~ by traumatron on November 29, 2007.

4 Responses to “Shall we change this title a bit? hmm?”

  1. Have you thought about how much the user will be able to altr the characters script? Will they be able to ask anything and get a response, or will the character have a set script, like ALICE or call company callers that ells them what responses to use and what they aren’t allowed to discuss. (control issue)
    Might be helpful for you to have a chat with ALICE and just explore the ways the conversation flows. Ask her about category C clients. Apparently I’m one because I asked to many questions and tried to test her IQ. (It was pretty bad!)

  2. re: the comments you made on my blog: I agree with you that ALICE is pretty infuriating, but your ideas about diverting the conversation when it strays off topic sound pretty similar to the way she does it ( I’m sure you’ll be much more interesting than a chatbot though!) It sounds like a great idea…reminds me a bit of the Short Circuit films. They are about a robot that has a personality, and my memory of the details is pretty scratchy, but I’m sure there’s some reference to him needing to be fixed and the emotional implication involved. Might be worth checking out. Also, the memory wipe R2D2 and C3PO get in Star Wars between III: The Return of the Sith and the original first ever movie( IV: return of the jedi?) might be inspiring to you in some way.

  3. Sometimes a blank canvas can be really inspiring…with that in mind, just found a really ’empty’ website (literally) which just an image of a robot. I think the blank space is supposed to signify the emptiness of the robots thoughts and emotions (hence the name emorobot), and enforce the idea that a robot itself is ’empty’, but anyway, thought it might give you some ideas for you own robot, even if it’s just aesthetic ones for its design:

  4. Hi Colin,

    You are tackling an interesting side of interactivity here – telepresence. It has direct links with the Turing Test (look it up if you don’t know of it already) and tackles identity as well as interactivity.

    Remember you’ll need a speaker as well in the robot head. You should be able to get everything working (see naomis blog for a couple of links on using flash with a webcam if thats useful) but it will take some time fiddling – don’t take it for granted that it will all work immediately. Might be easiest to use skype for the telepresence bit…it would let you see, listen and speak to the visitor and require no programming on your part.


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