I’m sure you remember Diego-San, whom we spotted in an issue of Kokoro News back in January. Reactions to these pictures were… Well, let’s just say, reactions were decidedly mixed. And by decidedly mixed, I mean predominantly negative. Diego-San’s createor, Dr. Javier Movellan, has been exploring possible alterations to Diego-San’s face, and has made this concept public:
As Dr. Movellan pointed out in one of his comments on our post, a lot of what’s relevant about designing the appearance of a humanoid robot is simply about trial and error:
“Everybody has strong opinions about why the current version generates such negative reactions: face too large, robot babies are freaky, skin texture is wrong, mixing mechanical body with biological face is scary, giganto-babies are scary … For just about every theory examples can be given that contradict the theories. The truth is nobody really knows. It is a trial and error process.”
With that in mind, Dr. Movellan is looking for some feedback (constructive feedback, please) on what you do and don’t like about this new concept for Diego-San’s face. Personally, I’d say it’s a good start, with the helmet, antenna and exposed electronics all reinforcing the fact that the robot isn’t intending to fool you into thinking it’s real. However, I’d be curious as to what the effect would be if more of the human features were removed. Like, what is strictly necessary for the robot to accomplish its research goals, which may not necessarily involve a substantial amount of expression recognition? Does Diego-San need ears, for example? A nose?
While one route might be to make it less human, the other route would be to make it much more cartoony. So basically, keep all the human features, just make it look intentionally fake… Again, the idea being that you’re reinforcing the fact that the robot isn’t trying to fool you into thinking it’s human.
Anyway, please let Dr. Movellan know what you think by posting a comment. For more background, read through some of the comments on our original post, and Plastic Pals has a very interesting interview with Dr. Movellan here.