Effective Communication of Emotions â€¨and Personality Using Visual Objects on Social Media Posts.
In Puppetry theatres, the characters are usually controlled by a puppeteer, who typically transfersÂ the movement of their wrists, hands and indeed their whole body through the fingers and then to the string or rod that controls a movement of the puppet. Unlike in usual puppet theatres, the @heyhexx project is an interactive puppet theatre in which people can interact remotely with the puppeteer from the social media platform by sending him a message. Hexx is the main character in his world, both he and his created environment are moved by mechanical actuators. This installation acts as an interface between the digital and physical worlds and aims to manifest emotions, in the context of a social media interaction, rendering them more easily understandable by translating them into the physical puppet theatre in real physical space. The mechanical set-up is merely a machine which has no inherent life, character or personality. Its purpose is to convey the emotion and personality it is imbued with through visual objects on a social media post. This research will focus on creating emotionally expressive mechanical solutions for objects in the environment in which Hexx â€˜livesâ€™, while leaving Hexx the robot remaining with its current charm intact. Emotional expression requires a basic â€˜languageâ€™ for objects to express the emotions, establishing a basic mechanical and digital language are principal topics in the research.
1 Can a mechanical object express emotion?
1.1 What is emotion?
Experiencing emotions and recognizing the same experience in others is a highly evolved part of our species development and existence, it is found in both human and non-human species andÂ it is an essential survival mechanism in all. (Darwin, 1872) (Plutchik, 1988). According to Charles Darwin, the English scientist best known for hisÂ theory of the evolution of species through natural selection, notwithstanding that he published a wide-range of theories and books in all branches of science including emotion theory. He suggested that the role of emotion in all species capable of it is twofold; First, It provides aÂ suitable mechanism for reactingÂ to a sudden situation. Second, emotion builds up a repertoire of behaviours in preparation for future actions. (Plutchik, 1988).
Some people might think that emotion is metaphysical and so unknowable, a secret, a mystery. Actually, emotion is a pattern of chemicals produced by the brain when it detects a stimulus whether a situation or object (Damasio, 2001). On the other hand, feelings can be hidden deliberately as it is internal and the emotional state of an individual is rarely a single, identifiable emotion but a complex interplay of competing emotions. For example, When a human is angry, their body will automatically release adrenal stress hormones such asÂ adrenaline and cortisol which increase blood flow to be ready to mount a fight or flight response to the stimulus which triggered the emotion of anger in the subject. Blood pressure increases, body temperature rises. The brain diverts blood flow from the gut to the muscles. Almost every cell in the body responds in the same way to a real physical threat like a tiger as they react to what may be an entirely abstract stimulus such as recalling a traumatic experience in the distant past.
Emotion cannot be separated from their underlying physical and chemical mechanisms. (Damasio, 2001) To recognise our own emotions, (and how we are expressing them) and to recognize the emotions of others from their expression of theirs is one of the most critical skills we need when confronting the environmental challenges of modern life in todayâ€™s society. Then we can control and use emotion in ways appropriate to each situation. Anger may seem like a useless and dangerous emotion that should always be suppressed because it might spill over into physical violence, rage and immediate harm to ourselves and those around us butÂ if controlled, it can be an ingredient in building up motivation.
1.1.1 How many emotions can humans express?
In the late 1860s and early 1870s, renowned French physician and physiologist, Guillaume-Benjamin-AmandÂ Duchenne performed an experiment on manipulating facial emotional expression in humans by applying electric stimulation to different muscles in the faces of the subjects to recreate facial expressions of different emotions and asking others to label the emotion they read from the faces. More than 60 photographs are produced to illustrate over 60 distinct emotions.
Charles Darwin undertook to repeat Duchenneâ€™s experiment to prove that humans, as well as non-human animals, have a small, core set of emotions which control the facial expression by a set of muscles. He recreated the experiment in his house by showing photographs from Duchenneâ€™s experiment randomly to his guests one at a time and individually and asking them to identify the emotion expressed by the people in photographs as they recognized them. The result was that Darwinâ€™s guests could only identify the core emotions; happiness, sadness, fear and surprise but found it hard to distinguish mixtures or more ambiguous emotions.Â (Snyder, Kaufman, Harrison, Maruff, 2010)
The wheel of emotion is a great tool to simplify the complex interplay of abstract conceptions of emotion and provides a way to clarifyÂ the nuances of emotions to help understand how different emotions are related to one another and how they develop over the course of time. It has colours assigned and arranged to represent both the intensity and the feel of each emotion. The project HeyHexx mainly adopts this list of emotions and intensity bands including the mixture of primary emotions based on Robert Plutchikâ€™s wheelÂ of emotions
However, The tool that the project used to identify the emotional content of text was IBMâ€™s â€œWatsonâ€ which only gives the percentage breakdownÂ in five emotional categories; joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust. According to IBM This is appropriate as it only has to categorise emotional states in a way that makes interaction with its entertainment functionality better.Â â€œInside outâ€; the animated movie that was based around five characters existing as archetypes for each of the 5 emotions IBM had identified and living within the head of a child with the interaction of their personalities driving the actions and overall emotional state of the child.
1.1.2 â€œInside Outâ€
â€œInside Outâ€ is an animated movie from Pixar, released in 2015. The movie tells the story of â€œRileyâ€,Â an 11-year-old girl who starts to express novel emotions for the first time in her life as she grows, which changes the blend of emotions within her psyche which define her personality. The movie illustrates the development of her personality simply by embodying five primary emotions as characters that live inside Rileyâ€™s head. The five primary emotions consist of joy, sadness, fear, disgust, and anger. Not only is the high concept of the movie fascinating, but also the character design of the movie is worth learning from. Each character is named after the name of the emotion they represent. The appearance, colour, personality and movement of each one delivers the impression of the emotion to the fullest extent and makes the filmÂ emotionally impactful.
Joyâ€ is the avatar of the emotion joy. She is the main narrator of the movie and the first emotion that Riley experiences as it was apparently there from birth She is joined by new avatars as the growing child experiences them for the first time in response to events in the outside world.
Her eyes are big, and her smile is wide, they made her an excited expression and mien and displays bravery and enthusiasm constantly. The personality Joy evinces is positive, active, energetic and spontaneous. She is the one who confronts any situation without hesitation. The primary colour motif of Joy is yellow and blue.
â€œ Thatâ€™s Fear. Heâ€™s really good at keeping Riley safe. â€ Joy introduced Fear.
This is how Joy introduced Fear for the first time.The avatar for fear is shown as having huge, wide eyes, holding his head at an angle as if startled. He has very thick black eyebrows with little curly hair. This feature causes him to look like he is hyper-aware and too sceptical in his apprehension of the situation. He is always insecure about his actions. His movements are fast and jerky. The character is portrayed as purple.Â
â€œ This is Disgust. She basically keeps Riley from being poisoned, physically and socially .â€ Joy said.
Disgust is portrayed as a fashionista girl with tilted eyes with big, glittering, green eyelashes that make her eyes heavy and intent. She always expresses displeasure at each situation and the things the girl encounters. She is very negative in outlook and is always annoyed and is narcissistic. Her main color is green. Her movements are slow and arrogant with a careful attitude.
â€œ Thatâ€™s anger. He cares very deeply about things being fair. â€ Joy said.
The embodiment of angerÂ has big angry eyebrows with angry red eyes. He has a hard, brick-shaped body. He often wears an â€œoffice uniformâ€ with short sleeves. His personality is fiery ,impatient and he overreacts to anything that doesnâ€™t go as planned. He always holds his fists clenched tight as if ready to fight. His main color is red. Angry moves with a heavy, stamping gait.
â€œAnd you met sadness. Sheâ€¦, Well she â€¦ I am not actually sure what she does.â€ Is how Joy introduced sadness.
She is portrayed as a chubby girl with thick, round glasses. She always hides her face behind her hair to avoid the gaze of the other emotions. Her shoulders are slumped. She wears a cosy sweater, and slippers indicating she prioritises what is known andÂ comfortable and is wary of anything new. Her outlook is gloomy shy and nervous. Her main color is blue. The movements of Sadness are very slow and careful.
1.2 What is Meant by â€œMechanical driven Objectâ€?
In the Heyhexx project, The focus point of the research is to create physical objects to enrich the telling of the story of Hexxâ€™s world. The object is to increase the emotional expression range of Hexx the robot since while he can move, he cannot speak. The objects are moved by mechanical actuators underneath the set which are controlled from the website.
While each object in the set, Hexx himself and the whole assemblage is a mechanism and each mechanism consists of parts which could themselves be called objects, In this paper, â€œobjectâ€ means an emotionally expressive element in the set and each â€œobjectâ€ requires an associated â€œmechanismâ€ to move it and that is how â€œobjectâ€ and â€œmechanismâ€ will be used in this research.
First, the mechanisms are located underneath the set, hidden from the audience, to create the illusion of autonomous movement of the objects to whichÂ they should confer life-like movements. At the same time, the mechanisms can be programmed to give different speeds and sequences of movements corresponding to multiple distinct emotions.
Second, the objects in the set that help to tell the story and blend in with Hexxâ€™s environment, for example, the flowers, buildings, and monsters.
The next sections will explore the basic, inherent â€˜languageâ€™ for objects to express emotion which will focus onÂ two aspects: movement and colour. Then the remainder of the research will talk about basic mechanics and the language that is used to link to the corresponding emotionÂ on the digital platform.
2 How can objects express emotions?
To make an object express an emotion in the context of the puppetry theatre set, it is crucial to convey the storyâ€™s intention and emotion to the audience. Many aspects can be used as cues which form a sort of universal language to deliver this, but in this research only two aspects will be the foci. First, the movement of the objects, the colour of the objects themselvesÂ factoring in the lighting.
It is useful to examine all prior robot depictions as they have always tried to imitate the movements of real living objects such as humans or animals to recreate creature-like behaviours. Traditionally, they have controlled their robots by complex feedback loops. It means that the robotâ€™s movements and reactions (or responses to the environmental triggers), sometimes appear machine-like due toÂ feedback time lag. Pre-programmed autonomous movement is one of the solutions to make more natural behaviour.
The animators in the early days struggled to make believable and life-like characters using only 2D line drawings.Â After enormous effort and innovation by many determined artists and technicians, their efforts improved. Disney could be seen as the apotheosis of this effort and used their trademark style to bring to life many a story and life out of blank empty paper to inspire generations of people and form a significant part of the shared culture. It is interesting to look at how they create life and construct a character to extract the techniques they used with the aim of developing a machine that can adopt the same principles and develop its criteria from there.
Although the principles for the animation of 2D hand-drawn images, as perfected by Walt Disney Studio between 1920â€™s to 1930â€™s, could not be applied directly in this project, the way they approached the problem could be. The company set up a team to examine models in action and action film of the moving models and playback over and over again to subtract the essence of a combination of movements to produce a specific type of motion. Over time it developed a toolkit that became fundamental principles for animators. The objective of this thesis is to create natural looking motion of inanimate objects in a puppetry set using the hidden mechanisms. To do this for inanimate objects requires a thorough understanding of human and other living things movements to mimic them. The goals of animation and this thesis are the same: To convey emotion from objects or drawings to the audience.Â The next part will explain 12 principles of animation and possible methods to apply these to mechanical objects. These are:
1 Â Squash and Stretch
4 Straight Ahead Action and Pose-to-Pose Action
5Â Follow Through andÂ Â Â Overlapping Action
6Â Slow In and Out
8Â Secondary Action
9 Â Timing
11Â Solid drawing
12 Appeal1 Squash andÂ Stretch
2D hand drawn animation uses altered keyframe rates and distorted or exaggerated movement to achieve the extreme yet believable motions and sequences of movement using only two-dimensional drawings. On the other hand, physical objects cannot be distorted due to the physical properties of the object. The motion of physical objects is achieved by creating naturalistic paths of movement, speed, pace and sequences of movement. Some of the principles above can be applied to the mechanical objects, but some cannot be applied directly but may provide inspiration or guidance.
It is hard not to mention the use of puppetry and special effects in creating characters in the film and TV industries. Jim Henson’s creature shop is the fascinating place where they gave birth to the those beloved characters, â€œthe muppetsâ€. Kermit the frog was the first in the muppet shop, and led to Sesame Street. The company always adapted to new of technology, they expanded their expertise from hand puppetry to rig and control puppets. The size of puppets they created varied from small insects to green Jedi master, Yoda, to a gigantic bear. No matter what technology developedÂ Jim Henson insisted on retaining the principle of one creature being controlleds by one puppeteer.Â (Bacon,1997)
The muppet team developed a natural user interface with instinctive mapping between body movement and the communication of emotion. As with controlling a hand puppet, One hand controls the head with facial expression, the other hand controls the body movement. In the case, One on joystick with button on each finger and the other hand on a freely moved controller. They use this controller as a fundamental control that can be applied to every creatures so the puppeteers get used to the technology and can become the master of the new puppets much easier. They are all about performance, so they try to get the technology out of the way as much as possible.
To achieve emotional expression in building up a character in Jim Henson’s creature shop, They define the expression asÂ the boundaries and puppeteer within those expression space. Practicing hands movements to drive the creatures within the boundaries sometime with the monitor that provide the view from in front of the creature. There are only around 6 sets of emotion, surprise, pleasure, interest, disgust etc. After the puppeteerÂ masters that set of emotions, they can play within the boundaries and create limitless combinations. (Bacon,1997)
Acknowledging the principles of both 2D and 3D puppetry and animation is useful language for creating an expression for the character or in the project, the objects.
Colours are an essential part of how we perceive the world. They have effects biologically, physically and spiritually. Feelings and colours are inseparable. They influence our minds, impressions and experiences. Research and thoughts on the relationships between emotions and colours are not new things and have a long history dating back to Aristotle-Plato. They can be a tool to represent emotion symbolically. Moreover, they can subtly influence how we feel; each colour stimulates a certain feeling in each person in each context. In this project, Colour is one of the main ingredients that will communicate emotional content to the spectators. The list of focus emotions is: joy, sadness, anger, fear and disgust as discussed in chapter 1. There will be some systematic differences in the interpretation of colours in different cultures personalities and society but on this chapter will explore the universal relationships between colour and emotions.
The first I would mention is one of the most important figures in the long history of research into colour and emotion is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He was a German poet who published his Theory of Colours in 1810. He explored the psychological effect of colours on emotion. His theory is written in an enchanting manner blending the â€œnatural philosophyâ€ (which was the science of the time), observation and poetry.
He created a â€œcolour wheelâ€; it consists of 6 colours with a â€œpositiveâ€ and a â€œnegativeâ€ side.Â The positive side is the colours yellow, red-yellow (orange), yellow-red. The negative side is the colours blue, blue-red and red-blue(lilac). A brief summary of the colours and their emotional connotations or associations as described by Goethe is given below (Goethe, 1749-1832):
2.3 The design
The physical Heyhexx set is a semi-circleÂ (180 degrees)set separated into 3 sections, 60 degrees in each scene. There are the park, the city, and the plant shop. Each location has its own emotional focus.
The park represents joy and sadness.
Yellow orange and optimism are the main hues used in this part of the set to embue it with happy and positive emotions according to Goetheâ€™s theory of colour. They are the colours of the arches that are distinct from the blue background toÂ border the whole scene.
The city represents sadness.
Sadness is the main emotion of this set. Apart from the buildings with grey and earth-tone colours, night-time scenery is acting to complement the scene to suggestÂ darkness, dullness and loneliness.
The plant shop represents disgust and fear.
Disgust and fear are the main emotions of the set. There are monsters hiding in the scenes to trigger these emotions. The colour scheme of the monster is mainly dark purple with dirt contaminating the colour. Purple is â€œred-blueâ€ in Goetheâ€™s wheel, it is representing activeness without gladness. They are something that you donâ€™t want to encounter. This is paralleled in the movie â€˜Inside Outâ€™, where the character Fear also has purple as his main shade.
3 How to create a movement from mechanical-driven object in the context of Automata?
3.1 What is movement?
Movement is the result of force or input that produces an action or output. (Alexander and Onn, 2013) For example, the motion of bicycle moves by the force that produces from legs pushing the pedals. When mentioning about movement, It is essential to look at the concept of Three law of Motion that introduced by Isaac Newton, English polymath one of the most influential scientists of all time.
Newtonâ€™s first law: Any moving object will continue moving in a straight line at the same speed unless there is some force to change the state of its motion. However, in reality, there is always some force doing something to the mass, for example, friction between surfaces or gravity.
Newtonâ€™s second law: the velocity of the object changes when there is a force acting on it.
â€œ For a constant mass, force equals mass times acceleration. alternatively, F=ma â€œ The moving bicycles is moving faster because the rider accelerates their speed of paddling.
Newtonâ€™s third law:Â stated that every action in nature there is an equal reaction.
To acknowledge threes laws of motion allow the designer to understand the explanation behind different phenomena of movements. Also, the thing that turns force into motion is described by the science of mechanics.
In order to create a movement appears in the desired motion. First, on this section, Automata will be introduced then followed by the essential mechanical parts based on how to build the automata.
The etymology of the word â€automataâ€ is from the Greek word Automaton meaning â€œThing that moves of itselfâ€ (Race, 2014) The use of this word frequently refers to a toy that has the notion of a mechanical device that moves it . Automata have a long history of creating life-like movement from man-made mechanisms to perform an illusion of supernatural actions and wonder. It could be a clockwork mouse with a simple mechanism inside to a very sophisticated clock tower with mechanical but featheredÂ birds that come out every hour.. Automata have a long history since Eqypt in the second or third century BC, led by the Alexandrian School. Hero of Alexandria made the mechanical model called Â Eolipile or â€œball of Aeolusâ€ (God of wind), using the expansion of steam to move a revolving platform as a teaching tool to demonstrate a physical law to his students. In Byzantine, water clocks combined with automata were invented. During the middle ages, mechanical science was deliberately confused with black magic or hailed as miraculous as it was deemed appropriate by the Church who used and condemned it as it suited them. (Peppe, 2007).
The sixteenth century is the golden age of the automata. By reason of the treatise of Hero of Alexandria being translated, the knowledge and drawings of pneumatic mechanismsÂ was translated into Latin, Italian and German. There was a race to construct ever more sophisticated water gardens with hydraulic automata and other techniques between European powers. In the eighteenth century, Jacques de Vancanson, French Automatist, created a life-sized duck to exhibit to the people. It looked like a duck, sounded like a duck, and the visitors could feed it corn then it also produced droppings as a real duck. He is one of the most significant figures in automata history.Â After that, automatism focused on making a reliable clock and mechanical toys.
It can be a clockwork mouse with a simple mechanism inside to a very sophisticated clock tower with mechanical but featheredÂ birds that come out every hour to a life-sized humanoid robot that imitates life.
The basic automata pieces always consist of two parts; first, is the charming creature or character doing something in a manner that is determined by the other part- the mechanism that moves the character above to create a skit of action. The movement of the most complex of todayâ€™s industrial robot is based on the same mechanical principles. They both use the same mechanism that is used in simplest piece of automata. (Alexander and Onn, 2013)
[vimeo 131122030 w=640 h=360]
3.3 Basic Mechanics
Although automata constructed from simple parts and mechanicals can produce a complex and sophisticated movement, Its fundamental mechanical principles are the same as the complicated industrial robots. (Alexander and Onn, 2013). There are eight useful parts that are useful from the making of automata based on the book Cabaret Mechanical Movement.
8 Drives & Gearing
It is a â€œrack and pinionâ€ mechanism, it is changing from rotary motion to linear motion in an up-down movement. The speed and direction is controlled by the servo motor to create different movements for different emotions.
In fear and disgust, the movement starts with fast movement, to make the monsters pop up rapidly from the pot.
There are 2 set of mechanical with different diameters of gears to produce different distances and different emotion expression
This is an experiment on three set of mechanics and shafts connected to each other to move three flowers to different positions in up-down motion. The intention is to create a wave motion out of three flower units. Dancing and curving movements might give a hint of happiness and liveliness to the objects.
[vimeo 291373084 w=640 h=480]
4 Expression through social media
After designing the scenery and movements, the moving set will communicate with audiences through the digital platform. People interact with the set via Twitter. They can be standing in front of the physical set or remotely on the digital platform on the other side of the world. Hexx responds only through the digital platform which is Twitter. The research will look into the universal language for expressing emotions on social media. Beginning with the history of social media in the feedback loop then the invention of the emoji lexicon and then the rapid rise of the meme. The final section is to apply all of this to Heyhexx.
4.1 brief history of communication on the digital platform.
People have always striven to find alternative ways of communicating. The Internet is one of the most recent of them. In 1969, a student, Charles Kline attempt to send the first message between Stanford Research Institute nodes (SRI) . â€œ LO â€œ was sent instead of LOGIN before the SRI system was crashed.Â PLATO, the system for computer-based education at the University of IllinoisÂ was built then it was expanded to the public, creating an online community, discussion forums, instant messages and games. Online communication quickly evolved as the digital language started to emerge in universally adopted machine languages.Â The absence of the expression present in speech inÂ texting created a new problem; non-verbal communication is creating a new universal digital language, including emojis and memes.
4.2 The Invention of Emojis
Before Emojis, there were Emoticons. Scott FahlmanÂ was the first documented person that used emoticons. He inventedÂ : – ( and : – (Â to identify the emotions of happy (smile ðŸ˜Š and sad â˜¹ï¸) in the newsgroup â€œthreadsâ€ in chatroom among computer science staff at Carnegie Mellon University back in September 1982 (cs.cmu.edu., 2018). Then in 1999 the first Emoji set was created by Japanese artist Shigetaka Kurita for Japanese mobile company DOCOMO. As text message and mobile e-mail became the new way of communication at that time, the company wanted to enhance the experience of communicating using the mobile phone. He designed a set of 12 x 12 pixel images combined to form an icon representing activities, sports, weather icons, zodiac signs, hearts in different states, means of communication and more. Now his 176 emotion collection is a part of the permanent collection at Museum of Modern Art, New York.
After that it became popular in Japan and started to spreading to outside of japan. Emoji use expanded to other platforms apart from mobile computing. In 2007 it was recognized by theÂ Unicode Consortium, the non-profit company that harmonises systems to manage the codes that translate into characters in the worldâ€™s languages and across platforms allowing seamless communication between computers around the world. In this step-change, Emoji technically and functionally became an official language. There were 625 recognised emoji characters by the end of 2009 that were adopted into The Unicode Standards (unicode.org, 2018). In 2011, the Apple company added an emoji keyboard to IOS. It has become a normal way for people to add emotional background in a non-verbal way of communication. Emoji turned into the first universal language of the world. There is a website called http://emojitracker.com/Â that tracks emoji use on Twitter in real time and It shows no matter what prose language they use, emojis are added to amplify the emotion within text.Â Each year Unicode expands the list of characters of emoji to cover more cultures, sex representation, activities, etc. In 2015, The option of skin-tone on the people emoji is added. Theyâ€™re a complex and subtle, but robust form of digital language.
4.3 The age of the internet meme
As digital communication evolves and more ways of communicating on-line are developed on all sorts of platform such as Facebook, YouTube and Reddit, more and more ways of expressing emotion on digital platforms emerge.
In the digital world, new content spreads and changes incredibly rapidly. So called â€œInternet memesâ€ can be anything from genuine information exchange and entertainment to deliberately falsified images to genuine images with short or misleading descriptions, GIFs, viral videos that encapsulate specific trends, news, or catch-phrases. It is customized by the users of the internet according to their preferences, interests and culture to convey a particular phenomenon . Memes create sub-communities that share the same opinions or interests unified by interest in a shared meme.
The word Meme was invented way before the internet era. it was actually coined by Richard Dawkins, the British evolutionary biologist in â€œThe Selfish Geneâ€, his book published in 1976. He defined the meaning of a â€œmemeâ€ as; â€œ the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit ofÂ imitation. â€œ Evolution is not only concerned with the chemical basis of genetics, but it depends on the transmission of self- replicating genes. It explains many aspects of individual human behaviour and cultural evolution. In 2013, Dawkins identified Internet memes isÂ as â€œone deliberately altered by human creativity involving mutation by random change and a form of Darwinian selection.â€ (Solon, 2013)
Memes are not about the direct transmission of information content but it exists and evolves through opinion, commentary and feedback altering the information itself by the action of internet users. It is a new way of cultural collaboration which is one of the unique abilities of the human race.
Beyond Emojis and Memes, Stickers are another medium used to express emotion on the social media. It can be described as the selection of drawings of characters that represent your state of mood or feeling or even activities. The format is totally free. It can be still images or moving images and with sound effects or without. Nowadays the choice of stickers, emojiâ€™s etc to express just the right emotion on the digital platforms doesnâ€™t come entirely free, some of the sticker sets are available only by purchase. The Digital era continues to progress, digital communication and expression can and will evolve quicker than ever.
Hexx is a physical robot that responds to inputs to the digital platform, Twitter. Applying the principles of the digital culture of Memes and GIFs, the intention is to create a representation of the emotional content of text that the user inputs on-line, and then projected on the character known as Hexx. On the early tested the researcher experimented on creating feedback through GIFs or animated image files with the emotion colours palette and patterns with short texts. A GIF is normally only 1-3 second long. It is a fascinating format of media communication as it is easy to consume and quick to deliver. It is also a very efficient way of expressing what can be complex emotional states.
The next experiment would be to investigate improvements to the expressive objects that surround Hexx in his world. Both he and the objects react with pre-programmed behaviours according to the interpreted emotional content of a short text in a short sequence of actions. As the reactions of Hexx and the Objects are longer, GIFâ€™s cannot deliver adequate content anymore. The alternative is a 10-second-video. As a result, There would be more room to explore further possibilities for the movements and the sequences of the whole set. Hexx could express more emotions and with more intensity. However, the accuracy of the expression of emotion is still open to further development. On the other hand, most of the audiences enjoy his reactions as they are, and the movements that are open for their own interpretation.Â
The objective was to create an unconventional way to visualise emotional content that people put on the social media platform through Hexx the robot and its environment. The audiences are pleased with the set that responds when they â€œtweetâ€. It produces a sense of magical action at a distance and wonder that they can control the whole theatre piece including Hexxâ€™s behaviour from the crossed-platform. It can deliver the expression but is not very accurate because when we design the motion on the paper or the computer program, the motion is believable but when it is reproduced by mechanical devices the naturalism of the movement is lost. The label assigned to the resulting emotion is required to inform the person who tweeted. The accurate emotional expression of the object needs more improvement by trial and error. In 12 principles of animation, the twelfth principle which is Appeal is essential as it draws people to interact to understand the theatre and Hexx. The colour of the set is also a powerful tool; it gives a clue to the emotion. In the future development, There is a room for applying the theory of colour to the lighting aspect in the theatre to represent each emotion expression.
The 10-second-video that recording while Hexx and the objects in the theatre are reacting to emotion from the tweet. It acts as a language that Hexx use to communicate on a digital platform. The reply produces a sense of human to Hexx as it can interact with the audience. The quality and the uploading time of the video are the aspects that need more consideration.
On the mechanical side, The researcher found out that when it comes to the mechanical production,Â materials, size and every conceivable, tiny detail of the connections between parts is crucial in delivering natural movement and is also affected by wear in the components. However well we can re-create the movements of biological machines, we will never re-create natureâ€™s continuing repair mechanisms and each automaton will degrade with time and use.
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