Roby Grooves is a prototype of a dancing robot that is able to learn, reproduce and adapt dance moves to music. Roby is a dancing companion for children aged between 3 and 7 who are gaining confidence in their own dancing ability. Roby has three modes: free mode, play mode and record mode. In free mode Roby’s arms can be moved to the beat. In record mode the child can record a choreography to one of their favourite songs, that routine can then be played on a continuous loop in play mode.
Interface and Interaction Modality
Roby’s interface is primarily located on his bottom control panel on which a play and record button are positioned to the left of a turnable knob. Turning the knob moves Roby’s arms through 180 degrees, which can be done in either free or record mode. On Roby’s torso there is an LED ring that lights up in three different colours green (free mode), red (record mode) and blue (play mode). In record mode the LED ring will light up sequentially, acting as a timer. The same sequence is played in play mode to show at which stage of the routine he currently is.
Roby grooves has been designed as a companion for children who are beginning to experiment with dance moves. The interaction is playful, yet simple and intuitive, while Roby’s LED ring and LED buttons provide extra feedback regarding Roby’s status and the action being performed.
Roby was created using an Arduino uno board with multiple buttons, rotary encoder and LEDs. The code was compiled using the Arduino compiler.
Research and Development
Roby Grooves is the result of an initial round of user testing that provided valuable insights into the way children intuitively interact with toys. As a result of these tests the interaction was modified to include an LED ring to provide visual feedback. Later interactions of Roby Grooves will incorporate a remote control teaching board, allowing the user to record multiple distinct movements that will be assigned to individual buttons. Additionally, Roby’s design will be altered to incorporate a greater degree of flexibility, as well as additional multi jointed limbs to give a greater degree of creative freedom to the user. Additionally, an internal AI will learn from the movements taught and begin to associate them to music. The more moves taught to Roby, the better Roby will get at dancing to the beat.