Jason Krugman
Scott Hoffer
Theresa Ling

Single White Android

This life-size lightup doll exhibits an intense emotional reaction based on your presence.


Introduction to Physical Computing - Wed (Shakar)

Our life-size doll wants to be close to you. His facial expressions and internal lighting relate to your interaction with him. His belly pulses with red light. He wants you to touch it, and if you comply, he reacts, smiling and glowing with pleasure. He just might move as well....

Humans are all lonely to some degree. The Internet and mass media are not satisfying our need for physical presence. We are deluded by the fact that we are "connected" to so many, when in fact we are only exchanging info, leaving us in dire need for real companionship.

How does our perception of companionship change when the Internet and other types of media become intermediaries between us? What makes a person real to us? Our creation is our response to these questions. He is a manifestation of a semi-human, and is neither real nor fake. He is not human, but he takes up physical space and has many human-like characteristics. Will he be more "real" than a fake person on the Internet who was "created" and then "died?" What does it take to be considered a human being these days? What types of emotional reactions will we be able to incite in our audience? Hopefully, we will be able to get them to re-assess the bonds in their lives, and think about their future social interactions from a new perspective.

This project started out as a part of a window display. Jason built a full-size human light-up doll with the idea of creating an unconventional mannequin. He was to be eating the stuffing out of a stuffed-bear in a Christmas display. Even though Jason knew the display had been canceled, he built the mannequin as an individual art project. As a P Comp MidTerm project, "Electric Joseph Beuys" had a plastic lampshade on his lap that triggered electronic music and an LED chain through capacitance sensors. The dummy was a late-additional to the Mid-Term project, adding a lot of semantic weight and stimulation to the original project that included only the reactive lampshade. The original project can be seen here:

Users of all ages

User Scenario
A person, or group of people approach him. His initial pre-encounter state is body lights off, pulsings red belly lights and a face displayed on the screen. When the person gets within a certain distance (maybe 5 ft for the show), the doll detects the presence and the video changes. He talks to the viewer, encouraging them to touch his belly. When the user complies, all of his body lights turn on, making him glow with white light. The video face smiles. When the person takes their hand away, the lights go off. When the person or group starts to leave, he senses it and asks them not to. His left arm raises to show a longing gesture. If the user, re-approaches, his actions change back to the happy sequence.

He has a minimal wooden skeleton. His joints are made of thin door hinges and 1/8'' wire. His stomach will be a 1 ft diameter translucent plastic dome. His head will contain a wooden mount for the 5.5'' screen. The wood is then wrapped with bubblewrap, 3 strands of outdoor, white Christmas lights (900 total lights), and two layers of skin-like paper. A double-bulb fixture is installed in the stomach dome, with 2 red bulbs. The whole body is then wrapped in plastic, translucent shipping wrap. Two servo-motors controlled through and Arduino microproccesor dim the lights. A computer or mac-mini running Processing is attached to the screen along with a sonic range-finder. The range-finder is mounted on the neck of the dummy. A 24V motor, eye-hook, line combo mounted on his arm will allow us to raise it and create a longing gesture.

We have discussed at length the way in which people interact with "robots" and the shortcomings/advantages to building a humanoid robot/doll. With Todd's assistance we learned both how to incorporate motors into the piece to add motion, and also to get our screen to work. We had to splice the cable, allowing us to isolate the video and power wires so that we could give the screen external power and video date from the computer. We think that this version of Isolo will ellicit the maximum emotional response from the audience and raise questions for them. They will be engaged by the interaction and their last reaction to Isolo will hopefully not be, "I'm sorry he's not real" or "I wish he could talk", but more "what about him made feel this way? Why am I reacting like this?" It is scientifically proven that the most important points during an interaction are the start, end, and peak intensity. We are considering this as we evolve this project.