January 3, 2019
Robots in general, and social robots in particular, tend to be very focused on functionality. When we see one, we want to know what it does, how well it does it, and whether it does those things better or worse than other robots or systems. The necessity for robots to be “useful” drives their design, but what happens when you instead design a robot that only has to do one very simple thing? The Greeting Machine is an abstract robot developed at the Media Innovation Lab (miLAB) at the IDC Herzliya, in Israel, with collaborators from Cornell University. It was conceptualized to greet people with a gesture, and do nothing else—a challenge that’s more complicated than it sounds.