With the increasing accessibility and popularity of robot kits, microcontroller platforms, cheap actuators, and online hardware tutorials, more people are building or buying simple low-cost robots than ever before. How can we make these low-degree-of-freedom robots expressive and entertaining? This research looks at developing systems that lets lay users design movements and gestures for low-cost robots.
“Mirror Puppeteering” is a mechanism to create expressive animations for a simple robot by directly moving the robot’s limbs in front of a webcam “mirror”. Using only a webcam tracking temporary vision markers, the user puppeteers the robot in real-time, either all at once, or in layers, to generate the desired animations. The robot motors do not need position sensors.