AUR Robotic Desk Lamp

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This non-anthropomorphic collaborative robot was developed as part of research on human-robot fluency and collaboration. AUR is used to investigate notions of non-anthropomorphic robotic form, anticipation in joint activity, embodied and perceptual memory, practice in human-robot teams, and the application of theories of theater acting on robot behavior. This robot won the gold prize in the 2007 IEEE Int’l Robot Design Competition.

AUR’s design was conceived around an existing 5-DoF robotic arm, and is aimed to evoke a personal relationship with the human partner without resorting to human-like features. By retaining the lamp’s “objectness”, I hope to explore the relationship that can be maintained through abstract gestures and nonverbal behavior alone.

The lamp’s head features a stainless steel hull with an acrylic shade that houses an actuated aperture made of stainless steel blades. The lamp’s light is controlled via DMX using and RGB LED bulb.

The design of the lamp was conducted through a process of two-part evolutionary prototyping. Each stage in the form design led to the following mechanical design, in turn informing the next form design stage.

The robot is animated using a custom pipeline enabling the dynamic control of behaviors authored in a 3d animation system. It is then fed into three separate controllers, an array of encoder-based motor controllers for the base, a position controller board for the aperture, and a DMX controller for the light.