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Prix 1987 - 2007

ORF Oberösterreich

Robots + Avatars Dealing with Virtual Illusions

In the field of mobile robotics, researchers areworking on several hard subjects:—Human-robot interaction—Mobile robot navigation—Robotic telemanipulation—Relationship between simulated (models) and real robots. This work addresses several of those subjects from a very original viewpoint, with an artistic background and very sophisticated techniques, including REAL mobile robots: a real mobile robot (type Koale, from K-Team) is used as physical representation.

This robot has been programmed for navigation in the performance environment and has a connection to the virtual world and its model in this virtual environment.

– Mobile robot models: a model of the robot is linked to the real robot in the virtual world and acts in relation to the robot actions.

– Virtual reality: complex environments and virtual worlds are linked to the robot activity, Internet activity and visitor interactions.

– Internet. The project is particularly pushes the limits of technology in the field of human-robot interaction and robotic manipulation, integrating a large number of complementary tools (mobile robot, virtual worlds, robot models, Internet, visitor reactions) giving an important role to complex subjective aspects. Both the integration aspect and the subjective approach make this project a very innovative and leading research project.

Future applications include all mobile robotic implementation where innovative human-robot interaction is requested (robotics pets, robotic services for private use, telerobotics on the Internet for surveillance or telepresence, etc.) The innovative approach allows new applications which can be implemented in everyday life. The social implications are a much better integration of robots in the life of human’s, including at the cultural level (robot as a new expression vector).

Robots + Avatars Dealing with Virtual Illusions integrates virtual reality, robotics and telepresence with a high aesthetical content as well as a suggestive and enigmatic interaction.

The Real Ambience is represented as a scenography in the form of an arena with labyrinthic pathways, made of mirrors, metal, wood, in a shiny, colourful sand and stone landscape. A 4x4 m screen projects the VR world and the results of the interaction between the user and the robot and avatars.

The Virtual Ambience is articulated by 10 different worlds or cities contained in the “Mother City”Ying & Yang. The personages in this installation exist both in real space (Koala = robot) and in virtual space, Ying and Yang: avatars. Each control the other, and yet both are controlled by the user in a local space and also through the net (from a non-local space).

The public can interact with each single robot in its environment by moving a joystick. This interaction generates a real time reaction in the behaviour of the robot as well in the avatars in the VR-world, visible on the projection screen at the top of the scenography of the arena,“the real world.”

It is possible to attract Koala by clicking on the button of the joystick and causing Koala to move towards Yang, trying to find him either in the physical or virtual world. In systhesis either Koala or the avatars Ying and Yang can interact with the
visitors by means of the network or telepresence. Network which becomes a sort of prolongation.