Madeline Jannotta

Basic aim: To exmplore the use of color, sound and the meanings we associate with them by reducing communicative stimuli to their most basic and fundamental components. Cereballz is an exploration of the role that these stimuli play, particularly in our tendency to associate meaning with and/or to personify inanimate objects.

The ballz themselves are small tactile robotic objects build out of latex/rubber or a similar material, containing various parts (Depending on its personality). Common components for all ballz would be an arduino mini, LEDs for indicating “life level”, piezo speaker for “Talking”, and
a set of dc motors with wheels for movement. Each ball would be programmed to “roam” its surroundings until its specific need is succeessfully met.

The ballz communicate with eachother and the outside world using a basic set of visual, tonal, and touch-oriented cues. Using these, each unit is capable of expressing basic emotions like contentment, desire, shock, and anger. The “life” of each ball is dependent upon successfully fufilling its specific need – for example, to be warm, to be talked to, to be
held, etc.

In the end, the project seeks to explore the limit of abstraction that is possible before we cease to associate significant feelings toward an object.

Some Questions the Cereballz project would seek to answer:
Can an amorphous latex blob with no human or animal likeness really take on a personality?
Why to we feel the need to help a non-human object when it expresses dissatisfaction?
At what point do we decide its an option to stop caring for an object all together?

Friday, April 30th, 2010