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RoCo Robotic Computer Monitor

RoCo is the research prototype of a robotic computer monitor capable of responding to human emotions and needs. This project is an ongoing collaboration with the MIT Media Lab's Affective Computing Group.


(RoCo robotic monitor prototype)

RoCo has an articulated neck and head; it can move fluidly with respect to its base. Researchers are developing algorithms

...capable of recognizing and physically responding to human socio-emotive cues such as postural shifts in principled ways. These cues are inspired by those found in human-human interaction, to foster a more natural, healthy, and productive human-computer interaction.

When RoCo takes up different positions, it encourages users to alter their posture as well. For example

... one study showed that people who felt depressed were more persistent at carrying out a tracing task if they were able to slouch while they did it, while cheery souls tended to be more tenacious when they sat up straight – a response known as the “stoop to conquer” effect.

...people don’t necessarily always sit in the “right” position for their mood. Enter RoCo. By taking up different positions, RoCo can encourage people to change their posture too. To investigate whether this would be useful in a working environment, the team gave two groups of people either a simple or unsolvable task to carry out. Once primed with a feeling of success or failure, the volunteers were given a new set of puzzles, projected onto RoCo’s screen. They found that the successful people who sat in front of an upward-tilting RoCo were more persistent in attempting to complete the second, unsolvable puzzle than those given a slouching RoCo. In contrast, those primed for failure by the previous task performed better when given a slouching RoCo than those given a neutral or upward-tilting one.


(RoCo flexes like luxo)

See the RoCo press release and RoCo website for more info.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/22/2007)

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