Topics: Robot, Stimuli, AI, Software, Robotics
Kismet is a robot designed through Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics to interpret emotions from the actions of a caretaker for educational research. Cynthia Breazeal describes how she is interested in learning the social context of interactions – between Kismet and herself – to try to exploit their simulated relationship in which the robot plays the role of an infant while she is the caretaker. Her goal is to study these types of relationships, which in the end reflect how parents treat their children, in terms of constraining the environment and making it suitable for learning and for assimilating tasks that usually present a learning curve. The motivations for these actions play a critical role in leading children to tell a mother that they might be either overwhelmed or bored. Kismet informs people on how they should be interacting with it to optimize their learning ability and the ability to be a caretaker and how to be receptive to the cues given. Kismet displays facial expressions to the instructors which tell them what the motivational response to any action might be, among them: anger or extreme anger, disgust, excitement, fear, happiness, sadness, interest, surprise, tiredness, and sleep. Kismet’s drives are in a homeostatic balance, which means that the robot is neither under-stimulated nor overwhelmed by its interactions with the caretaker. Simulation intensity is computed by the perceptual system software – moving phases are social stimuli whose intensity is proportional to the amount of motion. Motion is treated as nonsocial, therefore Kismet works to keep the perceptual stimuli within an appropriate range. Kismet’s emotions reflect its motivational state. By reading Kismet’s facial expressions, the caretaker can react to what Kismet needs and adjust actions accordingly. Caretakers can even be evaluated in how they might be over-helping the robot or under-help it, which is also reflected in its facial expressions. Kismet can use play toys to try to avoid feeling lonely, which it associates with appearance. If the toys are constantly presented to it, the caretaker ends up overstimulating Kismet, which will show displeasure – which can be restored if the toy is taken away. If Kismet is not given enough toys, the robot gets in a boring state and can appear sad until the caretaker stimulates it again. It can become overwhelmed or frightened if the toy makes a constant or too close appearance – in this case, the caretaker should back off and give Kismet its space. Extreme stimulation can cause Kismet to block out external stimuli, which is shown by closing its eyes and inducing it to sleep.