Robots for entertainment
Robots have been used for entertainment purposes in various settings, including toys, exhibitions, and the performing arts. Toy robots, in particular, have been very successful and are expected to remain one of the largest markets for personal robots. Meanwhile, advances in technology are leading to new and innovative uses of robots in the entertainment industry, and the potential for robots in home theatre systems and art performances is only just beginning to be explored.
An example of AI driven robot toy pet:
Toys and robotic pets were among the first robots used for personal entertainment. This started with Sony’s Aibo dog-like robot in 1999 , which paved the way for other entertainment robots. Compared to other robot applications, entertainment robots have been easier to get to market because their functions do not need to be as advanced, and they often use preprogrammed capabilities. Some of the most popular robotic toys over the years have been Furby, Sony’s Aibo robot dog, and Cosmo. Lego Mindstorms was a market leader in educational toy robots, but it has recently been followed by robots that allow children to learn how to code and think computationally. Although most entertainment robots target children and adolescents, many are also enjoyed by adults. Some of the robots elicit strong social responses from children and adults alike. The market for toy robots has been and is expected to remain one of the largest for personal robots.
Robots are often used in exhibitions and theme parks to entertain audiences. These animatronic devices are very robust, with a flexible latex skin that reflects realistic skin coloration and patterns. Most of these animatronic robots have no autonomy and play a pre-recorded script of animation timed to a soundtrack.
Robots are also sometimes used in the performing arts. One of the first robot performance art pieces was Senster, created in 1970.
See the video of 20 Nao robots performed a synchronized dance recital for France Pavilion Day at the Shanghai 2010 Expo:
A video of Boston Dynamics showcasing the dancing capabilities of their robots dancing with realistic dance moves:
Along with toy robots aimed at the child market, there are also embodied robots and virtual reality (VR) interfaces for adult entertainment needs. Colloquially known as “sex robots,” diverse robotic platforms offer varying levels of human-like appearance and behavioural response.
Bartneck, C. et al. (2020) Human-Robot Interaction: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108676649.