Creepy Robot Eyes You Can Wear
Creepy robotic eyes aren't everyone's cup of tea for jewelry, but they are fun.
A team at Keio University in Japan developed a set of finger rings, two with eyes that blink and one shaped like a mouth. As the wearer moves his or her fingers, the robot eyes and mouth flick open and closed, controlled by a PC and built-in microcontroller.
The movements mimic some natural patterns: The eyes look oddly real as they blink, but they still tend to dwell in the "uncanny valley," a theory that says the more humanlike the robot, the creepier it is. Masayasu Ogata, one of the designers, called it "a device for enhancing the animal-like, imitative ways that people use their hands," in an interview with Diginfo.tv.
It's certainly an entertaining finger puppet. Ogata noted that robots haven't been attached to the human body yet, though there has been a lot of work in robot communications. The rings, he said, are meant to help get wearable robots past the research stage.
It's interesting to contemplate what a robot might do if it were attached to a person — people with certain kinds of paralysis come to mind or variations on the exoskeleton designs. But in the meantime, there's a new option for Halloween gadgets.