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Choreographic and Somatic Approaches for the Development of Expressive Robotic Systems

1
Mechanical Science and Engineering Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61801, USA
2
Independent dance artist/professional, Brooklyn, NY 11238, USA
3
Independent dance artist/professional, Palmyra, VA 22963, USA
4
Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, New York, NY 10018, USA
5
McGuffey Art Center, Charlottesville, VA 22902, USA
6
Independent dance artist/professional, Musquodoboit Harbour, NS B0J 2L0, Canada
7
School of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
8
Dance Program, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA
9
Integrated Movement Studies (Certification) Program, Santa Barbara, CA 93108, USA
10
Computer Science Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61801, USA
11
Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 2NE, UK
12
Theatre, Dance, and Media, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
13
Aerospace Engineering Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61801, USA
14
Kinesiology and Community Health Department, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61801, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 December 2017 / Revised: 6 March 2018 / Accepted: 14 March 2018 / Published: 23 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Machine as Artist (for the 21st Century))
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Abstract

As robotic systems are moved out of factory work cells into human-facing environments questions of choreography become central to their design, placement, and application. With a human viewer or counterpart present, a system will automatically be interpreted within context, style of movement, and form factor by human beings as animate elements of their environment. The interpretation by this human counterpart is critical to the success of the system’s integration: “knobs” on the system need to make sense to a human counterpart; an artificial agent should have a way of notifying a human counterpart of a change in system state, possibly through motion profiles; and the motion of a human counterpart may have important contextual clues for task completion. Thus, professional choreographers, dance practitioners, and movement analysts are critical to research in robotics. They have design methods for movement that align with human audience perception; they can help identify simplified features of movement that will effectively accomplish human-robot interaction goals; and they have detailed knowledge of the capacity of human movement. This article provides approaches employed by one research lab, specific impacts on technical and artistic projects within, and principles that may guide future such work. The background section reports on choreography, somatic perspectives, improvisation, the Laban/Bartenieff Movement System, and robotics. From this context methods including embodied exercises, writing prompts, and community building activities have been developed to facilitate interdisciplinary research. The results of this work are presented as an overview of a smattering of projects in areas like high-level motion planning, software development for rapid prototyping of movement, artistic output, and user studies that help understand how people interpret movement. Finally, guiding principles for other groups to adopt are posited. View Full-Text
Keywords: robotics; choreography; Laban/Bartenieff Movement System; interdisciplinary collaboration; expressivity; HRI; somatics; expressive robotic systems robotics; choreography; Laban/Bartenieff Movement System; interdisciplinary collaboration; expressivity; HRI; somatics; expressive robotic systems
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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LaViers, A.; Cuan, C.; Maguire, C.; Bradley, K.; Brooks Mata, K.; Nilles, A.; Vidrin, I.; Chakraborty, N.; Heimerdinger, M.; Huzaifa, U.; McNish, R.; Pakrasi, I.; Zurawski, A. Choreographic and Somatic Approaches for the Development of Expressive Robotic Systems. Arts 2018, 7, 11.

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