Hannah Wolfe

ROVER, the reactive observant vacuous emotive robot, is an interactive sculpture that navigates the space finding people and communicates algorithmically using their mood and the environment as input. ROVER communicates using a machine learning language model based on various texts. From prior audio and emotion research, ROVER modulates audio qualities like timbre, fundamental frequency, mode, and tempo to portray the emotions that the viewer is expressing. He also learns the space, mapping obstacles and people, while navigating using bump, proximity and heat sensors. ROVER is a experimental platform for human robotic interaction. The technology that he is built on will be used for exploring other forms of audio visual communication. ROVER has two modes, an active mode where he moves about the space looking for people to interact with and a passive mode where he is stationary and will only interact when approached. ROVER is a uncomfortably biological alien-like form attempting to learn how to communicate and express emotions through trial and error. His towering 6 ft tall thin white frame with a translucent cover stretched over it is reminiscent of a ribcage covered by skin. ROVER derives his name from “rove” meaning “travel constantly without a fixed destination; wander.” His name makes reference to the traditional dog name “Rover” and a planetary rover, a space exploration vehicle.

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