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Wizkid looks like a computer, but it’s a robot. With its social skills and physical presence, Wizkid introduces the simplicity of everyday interactions in the world of computers. You can teach Wizkid about habits, introduces it to your friends and pets. Day after day, Wizkid will learn to recognize you and them and react differently in each context.
Wizkid expresses itself by "shaking" its head, nodding, bending its neck in various ways and with a very simple "eye brow" system consisting of two horizontal bars that can go up and down. Despite the fact that this design is non-anthropomorphic, Wizkid conveys rather convincing expressions.
Wizkid introduces a novel interface system entitled "Halo". Interacting with the machine, the user sees himself in a kind of augmented mirror. Around him, several widgets and other interface elements appear. He can just select them by waving his hand. This "interactive halo" follows the user everywhere so that Wizkid's tools are always "at-hand".
Wizkid is the results of a collaboration between an engineer, Frederic Kaplan, and an industrial designer, Martino d'Esposito. It was developed at the CRAFT Laboratory at EPFL and benefits from the support of the EPFL-ECAL Lab.
In the living room, Wizkid can act as a central interface to media players:
Just show a CD to Wizkid and it will play it. If you organize a party, Wizkid will take pictures autonomously of your guests and create a visual summary of the event that can be sent to your guest afterwards.
In the children’s room, you can play augmented reality games with Wizkid. Look at yourself “in” the robotic screen and wait for the metamorphosis. With Wizkid you can really go beyond the mirror, seeing yourself in imaginary worlds where a simple playing card can turn a fantasy creature to life. At any moment, if you can talk or share thoughts with Wizkid. Although Wizkid does not speak, it listens carefully.
At the office, Wizkid introduces video conference with a presence. Your remote coworkers are really here with you, controlling the Wizkid’s directional head and expressing their reaction through physical movement. During meetings, Wizkid is following conversations just like any other participants paying attention to who is speaking (and who is not), acting like an efficient secretary.
Many more applications can be envisioned for shops, museums, schools, etc.
Whizkid is currently presented at the MoMA in New York at the "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibition.
Interaction with visitors at MoMA:
Robotic display with camera / 2 microphones / WIFI / Bluetooth / IR receiver/emiter / RFID reader
Face and object recognition / Halo Interface / Curiosity-driven development / Programmable in URBI
Inside housing : Aluminum and polycarbonate plastic
Slipcover : Elastan-polyamide fabric
Go here to contact the makers of Wizkid.