Ji-Dong Yim and Callo

Ji-Dong Yim, a PhD student in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology, is the co-creator of Callo (above) and Cally, a pair of cell-phone robots that use wireless networking, text messaging and other interactive technologies to convey human emotions.

Robo cell

May 13, 2010

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Scientists Ji-Dong Yim and Chris Shaw in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology are the proud parents of a robotic cell-phone family that can walk, dance and express human-like emotions.

Doctoral student Yim and associate professor Shaw first used cell-phone technology to create Cally, a physically active robotic cell phone that stands roughly 16 centimetres high.

Cally walks, dances and mimics human gestures. "She" can also help cell-phone users make electronic eye contact with the person they’re talking to by tracking human faces.

More recently, they used wireless networking, text messaging and other interactive technologies to give birth to Callo, who is taller and more emotionally sophisticated than his older sister.

Callo’s viewing screen registers text-messaged emoticons as human-like facial expressions. His robotic shoulders can slump and his arms can start waving frantically if he’s interactively triggered to respond to an emotional crisis, such as a relationship break-up.

"Imagine you are video-calling with me through Callo," explains Yim. "When you move your robot, my robot will move the same, and vice versa, so that we can share emotional feelings using ‘physically smart’ robot phones."

Shaw, Yim’s doctoral supervisor, says they are developing a wide range of human-robot cell phone service scenarios and prototypes of Cally, Callo and their siblings.

He adds, "We’re using them to explore ways in which we can help social robotic products, such as GPS, interactively communicate with people and build long-term intimacy with them."


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