Blog Index
The journal that this archive was targeting has been deleted. Please update your configuration.

Geometry = Personality

Unlikely Creatures with Marcela Delgado & Brainerd Taylor

We humans have a remarkable inclination to see ourselves in animate objects.  When an object moves in some irregular way, we find it almost impossible to restrain our tendency to anthropomorphize, projecting emotion, intent and personality onto each jitter and wobble.  This project is an exploration of the lower limits of that irregularity of movement.  These three robotic balls use identical simple mechanisms and rudimentary responsive logics as they move through their environment.  Each is differentiated from the others only by the unique faceting of its surface, and these geometric characteristics determine the particular way in which each ball can move.  The facets produce just the sort of halting, nuanced movement that captivates humans and begs to be assigned human traits.



Geometry = Personality draws inspiration from Fritz Heider and Marianne Simmel's seminal 1944 study of interpersonal perception, An Experimental Study of Apparent Behavior.  The researchers asked participants to watch the video below and then to describe its characters and sequence of events.  The study documents the pronounced tendency in humans to attribute human traits and emotions to moving objects in order to explain their movements and interactions.



Before undertaking the physical construction of these balls, we tested various surface geometries in virtual space, arriving at three geometries that produce sufficiently distinct patterns of movement.



Finally, we put the finished products to the test, examining their ability to entertain and hold the interest of a small child.