ActDresses is a design concept for interacting with robotic devices, based on the metaphor of clothing and accessorising. The approach is motivated by existing practices of physical customisation of electronic devices, the current trend towards increasingly diversified user interfaces, and experiences from the general domain of end-user programming.

Example interaction scenarios

Below are pictures from three simple example interaction scenarios for adjusting the behaviours of different kinds of robotic products.

Case 1

In this scenario, the behaviour of a commercial robotic ‘pet’ is altered by letting it change mode or behavioural abilities by dressing it up in different costumes. The picture sequence shows first the user playing with the robot in ‘watchdog’ mode, as indicated by a watchdog-style necklace. When the user changes the costume from necklace to pyjama, the robot is slowly switching into ‘sleep’ mode.

Case 2

In our second scenario we use commercial vacuum cleaning robots as a prototype base for exploring how the concept could enhance a task-oriented robot. Here we explore how comic book-style patches attached by magnetic tape can be used to extend the robot’s basic behaviours with super positioned abilities. As inspiration is how very simple robot actions may result in behaviours that people tend to interpret as psychologically driven, e.g. being curious, aggressive, nervous, etc. In the picture sequence, a ‘shy’ sign has made the robot hide under the sofa, and is switched to another mode by the user, to make it spiral slowly and silently on the carpet.

Case 3

This illustration case emphasises actions and user interactions that can be sensed and performed with the GlowBots experimental platform. The picture sequence shows a user selecting from a collection of physical behaviour ‘amulettes’, attaching them to a GlowBot, and finally how a group of GlowBots move, glow, and interact according to items on their bracelets.