Tag Archives: uncanny valley

Robots, Embodiment and Mediated Virtuality

This is a long (50:16) video, that may be too esoteric for some visitors, but I recommend digesting it by segments for some interesting insights(esp. for museum curators/educators). Danny Bazo provides a low key articulation of some of our recurring themes of embodiment, virtuality, robots, human/technology binary, anthropomorphism, etc.. from perspective of a robotic scientist with a genuine appreciation of the arts’ contribution to science. It is a testament to role of engineers in exploring and pushing the boundaries of understanding the human – technology interface. Consider his commentaries on: embedded/embodiment systems (starting from 3:30 mark); designing facial expressions of humanoid robots (8:50); ‘PolarM’ project (10:00), an assemblage of devices that makes the imperceptible perceptible such as ‘background noise’, the invisible visible with a ‘bubble chamber’, and (16:00) how we attribute intelligence to robots through human-like gestures such as ‘head-cocking’ (“oh, the robot is thinking”); swarm cameras that produce art (17:30); collective interrogation of the environment (18:00) by a handful of different actual and virtual robots with different computer algorithms produces a generative visualization (an ‘artwork;”painting of memories’) within a room that demonstrates ‘level jumping’ of virtuality (22:00) to open door between art and science. The most intriguing segment is “The New Dunites” project (23:00) which was a ‘media archeology’ to explore the buried site of Cecil B. DeMille’s silent spectacle “The Ten Commandments” movie set (1922-23) using ground-penetrating radar to create 3D visualizations. The later segments focus on the engineering challenges of navigating 3D worlds. Robots may be conceived as ‘mediators’ between humans and the digital/virtual world(s). Presentation ends at about 38:40 mark. During Q & A session, the notion of “uncanny valley” is questioned (40:25-42:50). Bazo thinks more research is required, as he views “uncanny valley” as a theory; maybe it is not really a “valley”, perhaps multidimensional. Tough question and response (46:30) about human-robot interface – biology and technology are “isomorphic”; consider the robot as a ‘teacher’ to enhance understanding ourselves.