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Image via MinimaformsWe’ve had enough bad experiences at petting zoos to last a lifetime. Two words: angry goat. So when we heard the experimental architecture and design studio Minimaforms had a petting zoo on display, we were less than thrilled. But as it turns out, this zoo doesn’t house seemingly innocent furry creatures (we’re look at you, Mr. Goat) but colorful robots. They might be lacking in the cute and fluffy department, but these robots can interact just like a friendly petting zoo worm.

Installed in the ceiling of France’s FRAC Center, these nine lil wormies have been designed with “the capacity to learn and explore behaviors through interaction with participants.” They’re equipped with multiple Kinect sensors, like the ones you use to play Dance Central on your Xbox, that detect human forms and gestures.  But that’s just the tip of the robot iceberg – they’re also programmed using Processing, a language which allows them to synchronize their movements and react with groups of people. This combination of artificial intelligence technology turns these robots into something that reminds us of our cat: playful, sometimes a little moody, but always up for a good rub under the chin.

Minimaforms designed these robots to “develop personalities” over time by avoiding “repetitive controller feedback” which is basically what you get from all robots: you perform an action and the robot responds the same way no matter how many times you do it. But in the Petting Zoo, your touch on a robot’s neck might elicit a friendly curling, an angry waving or any number or other reactions. They might also creepily follow you around the room with their beady red eyes that look like Dr. Octopus’ tentacles  without the evil villain qualities.

Image via MinimaformsBeyond being an awesome interactive installation, Petting Zoo also raises questions about “how future environments could actively enable new forms of communication with the everyday.” This project explores new robot-to-human communication that feels a lot more realistic and less like you’re talking to a box of wires. We’d like to add to this that Petting Zoo also raises the questions,“Are these worms good at Dance Central?” and “When can we get a video of grooving robot worms?” 

Image via Minimaforms(Story via TheVerge; Video via Vimeo

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Reader Comments (1)

Oh! Really the lights are looking so nice and attractive. It is quite difficult to imagine a world without light. It can lead to many problems like dark life, loss length of day, development etc. But it is not in practically. Without light our life and progress remain steady.

Now we can found different types of lights available in market. Among them LED lights are the latest and most appreciable by people. It basically use in party, bar, house, office, corporate world etc to enhance the value of that place and moment. Many times it taken in rental basis for a certain period of time.

March 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlberts

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