ROVER: the Reactive Observant Vacuous Emotive Robot, is an interactive sculpture that navigates the gallery and sings emotively when it finds people. Based off of audio and emotion research, ROVER modulates audio qualities like timbre, fundamental frequency, contour, mode, and tempo to portray emotion. It also learns the space, mapping obstacles and people, while navigating using proximity, bump and heat sensors. This is an experimental platform for human robotic interaction, and has been used to conduct research on human’s affective response to emotive sounds produced by an embodied agent. ROVER has two modes, an active mode where it moves about the space looking for people to interact with and a passive mode where it is stationary and will only interact when approached. ROVER is an uncomfortably biological alien-like form attempting to learn how to communicate and express emotions. Its towering 6.ft tall thin white frame with a translucent cover stretched over it is reminiscent of a ribcage covered by skin.
- Hannah Wolfe, USA