The MRPL crew conducted a lab in December 2012 at the The Centre for Intelligent Systems Research, Deakin University, Waurn Ponds campus, investigating the use of an industrial robot in dramatic theatre.
While trying to grasp how we can use a robot in the play, Ghosts we discovered:
- That the components and networks are there.
- But different configurations are difficult to achieve.
- What the robot's inputs and outputs would be.
- What the robot's function would be.
- How does the robot look in the scene with the actors?
- What is its functionality within the scene?
- What does the robot need to do and how do we satisfy these requirements?
- How do we develop a code to make the robot do what we want it to do?
- How will the gestures and movements of actors trigger the robot?
- What is the easiest way to create a specific event list for the robot's actions?
WHAT WE MUST DO
- Stick to the project specs.
- Take a page from the script to ascertain what the robot could be doing so the engineers can hard code the robot for us to test.
- Skim the fat out of the text which will update the play so we can afford more cuts.
We eventually decided that the robot should be triggered to move and speak via gesture and voice commands. The robot should respond with movement, voice/sound or lights.
Once a short sequence of events and triggers had been programmed, the actors where then able to interact with the robot, which moved in response to words and gestures made by the actors. While it seemed clunky at first, we realised the potential of the robot's use and got a better understanding of how long the process takes to build the responses.
It was discussed how this would be a new form of stage management, direction and blocking for the theatre.
At the end of the week, it was agreed that the CISR would build a robot for the MRPL.
At the end of this ARTLAB, another evaluation took place with the MRPL crew and the team of CISR.