Limbs, Movement, and Expression
T hose early Greek theatrical simulations of living beings con- veyed a sense of life through motion, and motion remains a hallmark of artificial beings.We feel that motion means vital- ity, and hence is essential for lifelike synthetic creatures; in fact, the Nursebot, a robot developed at Carnegie Mellon University, which is designed to assist the elderly, not only has facial features (cartoonish ones) but blinks its eyes at regular intervals so that observers under- stand that something is “alive” in there, even when the robot is at rest. There are also practical reasons to incorporate mobility:What would be the use of a household robot that could not clean the floor, or an industrial robot that could not move its arms to weld an automobile door panel? While an artificial mind is an essential part of a useful robot or android, it is the addition of motion along with sensory interaction that turns a mind into a full being.
But what kind of motion?That depends on the goal: Is it to make a robot that is functional, but might not look at all human, such as Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner? Or is it to make a robot that, although it could not be mistaken for human, is sufficiently human- oid to operate in everyday environments, from homes to offices and