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Robots Entertain in Plays, Puppet Shows

South Korea’s Pohang Institute of Robotics (PIRO) has teamed up with an entertainment company to add an element of science education to their puppet show.  Besides a humanoid robot puppet that teaches kids about physics, commercial robots like Pleo and Paro the therapeutic robot seal appeared on stage, much to the delight of the kids who said, “The robot is like a living thing.  It’s fun.” PIRO is developing humanoid and quadrupedal robots (see PHOPE).

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[source: KBS News (KR)]

In Japan, Robocasa is putting on a play about a couple living with a robot.  The story takes place over 20 years (2015-2035) in its three acts.  In act 1 the couple have been married for 4 years and the honeymoon period is definitely over.  They fight over trivial things and there is suspicion of cheating, so they send messages to one another through the robot.  Normally in movies and books robots are quite human-like and are able to add emotional emphasis and intonation, but in this play the robot is much less sophisticated.  Its mechanical delivery of the heated argument back and forth leads the couple to realize how they’ve been behaving towards one another and they eventually reconcile, turning the tragedy into a comedy.  In acts 2 and 3 the robot operates in the background, serving as a life log and offering statistics from couples nationwide to help mediate a debate.  The robot has become more fully integrated into the couple’s daily life but is simultaneously less conspicuous.

The robot, a CR-01 from CyberStep, was remotely operated.  It is equipped with a camera, microphone, speaker, IR distance sensor, touch sensor, LCD display, and moves on a 4-wheel base (with tachometer).  It stands 150cm (5′) tall and weighs 12kg (26 lbs).

[source: Robonable (JP)]