Sometimes it's the first friendly exchange of the day: The simple act of greeting someone. You say hello, they say it back. But sometimes there's nobody there to say it. That's where Hello Robot comes in. Have you ever felt unwelcome in a space you just walked into? This robot is here for you. It welcomes you when nobody else will. It responds to your movement and waves back at you whenever you enter or leave a room or when you just walk by. It's the perfect, interactive decoration for lonely work environments and homes alike and aims to bring some charm into our automated lifestyles.
How it works
Hello Robot is controlled with an Arduino Uno and receives movement data from a webcam. If it detects consistent movement, it will turn towards the person interacting with it and start waving at them with the help of two servos. If there are several people interacting, it will greet everyone one after the other so nobody gets left out. Hello Robot is built mainly from paper for a lightweight construction. The hand is attached with velcro and can be exchanged for other hands of different levels of abstraction.
To test different looks for Hello Robot, several hands in different styles were built from different materials. The idea of having joints in the fingers was discarded, as it was very complex and did not add much to the desired effect, as the act of waving was already readable without finger movement. The final design keeps the balance between an easily recognizable, familiar object– a hand attached to an arm – so people instantly know how to interact with it, and a more abstract design that does not feel uncanny and unsettlingly realistic.