Sunday, February 24, 2008

A robot displaying your dreams!

Sleep waking' is an unusual artwork that combines recorded brainwave activity and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep with robot behaviours.

The sleep waking robot plays back your dreams, or, if you will, presents an interpretive dance of your dreams, reports livescience.com.

The robot is the result of a collaboration between Fernando Orellana and Brendan Burns. Orellana spent a night in The Albany Regional Sleep Disorder Center in New York. The staff wired him up and collected data of every conceivable kind: EEG, EKG, REM — you name it.

Orellana describes the use of the data to animate the robot in this way:
"The eye position data we simply apply to the position the robot’s heads is looking. So if my eye was looking left, the robot looks left.

"The use of the EEG data is a bit more complex. Running it through a machine learning algorithm, we identified several patterns from a sample of the data set.

We then associated pre-programmed robot behaviours to these patterns.

"Using the patterns like filters, we process the entire data set, letting the robot act out each behaviour as each pattern surfaces in the signal. Periods of high activity (REM) where associated with dynamic behaviours (flying, scared, etc) and low activity with more subtle ones (gesturing, looking around, etc).

"The "behaviours" the robot demonstrates are some of the actions I might do (along with everyone else) in a dream."

Orellana and Burns used a Kondo KHR-2HV humanoid robot for their project.

Orellana believes that the sleep waking robot is a metaphor in which the robot is allowed to augment or act out human experience. The robot becomes an extension of the person.

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