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Designers Craft Depressive Robot Furniture

| 20 May 2011 20:54
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You always thought robots would enslave humanity, but it turns out that they just want to be loved.

At least that's the sensation one gets from watching the Emoti-bots in action. Designed by design students Burcum Turkmen and Katie Koepfinger as "prototypical products for future homes that simulate and stimulate emotion," the Emoti-bots are, in simple terms, furniture that reacts to human presence (or, more specifically, the lack thereof) with appropriate "emotions."

For example, taking a seat in the Emoti-bot chair will cause the device to change color in response to your touch. Standing up and walking away from the chair will move the poor despondent thing to wander listlessly about the room until it finds another occupant in need of a seat.

The Emoti-bot lamp on the other hand, physically changes shape when it senses a person nearby, seemingly in an effort to reach out and make contact. Moving away causes the machine to draw back into itself.

Both Emoti-bots are currently on display at the Parsons school of design in New York, but in case you can't make it out there to catch their maudlin metallic antics, the designers have you covered.

There's a pretty severe WTF-factor in place here, so I'll let the Emoti-bots' official site explain the concept behind these things:

Our products are meant to argue against traditional western views toward robotics and common assumptions about the objects within which our future technologies will be built. Our project seeks to question the potential of the objects around us and envision them as evolved future objects. It seeks to challenge common fears surrounding robots and their elevated integration into our daily lives. We hope to push the boundary of what role we see robots playing in our lives and negate tendencies to regard them as slaves or servants, but rather look to them as cohabitants. The idea of simulating emotion in our objects is cemented in the idea that emotion plays a significant role in human intelligence. Intelligence is not only the ability to acquire knowledge, but also to apply it appropriately.

In short, the Emoti-bots are designed to interact with people on an emotional, rather than cerebral, level.

Contractually I believe this is the point where I'm obligated to make a reference to super adorable T-800 exoskeletons killing everyone you love, but I think you can handle that on your own.

Source: Emoti-bots, via Engadget

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