First meet with Simon Boxer


Yesterday, on the 10th of July, this digital writing residency officially started. Today I met with the visual artist on the project, Simon Boxer, to talk ideas. It was a great chat, riffing off ideas about the robots and the nature of human-robot interaction. We spoke about people’s fears with robots – being wiped out by them, and Simon added being replaced at work by them.

We spoke about constraints, and how due to the limited time I’ve chosen to create 3 robot types that are repeated or cloned. So six robots in total. We can reskin the robots, and I can alter the UI elements. We could also do gender differences (how would that work with robots?). I like the idea of robot twins, not clones. “We’re twins, not clones!” So brother and sister maybe.

There are twelve multi-touch panels, and so we spoke about the spacing across the panels. It won’t be one every second panel for instance. Originally I had planned to have the robot types separated (1,2,3, and then 1,2,3). But in order to help with the background illustration, it is better to have the robot types close to each other. That way they can have their own *space*. The background illustration is vitally important – as it needs to have strong environmental storytelling. This project is all about concentrated storytelling: getting across lots with little.

The above sketch is a photo of my own scribbly notes during our conversation. Simon drew better ones. The section on the top left is about my thoughts on utilising people’s spatial navigation bias to support the robot experience. The *wise* robots will have bodies that look thin and old robot pathetic. Not cool tech. If we put the giant military robots in the center, then they will be the visual draw card. So then put the domestic robot with lots of cool gadgets and arms on the left, then on the right (the side the visitor enters the space) the pathetic wise robots will be. This means they will naturally be walked past, just as they are passed over because of their appearance. So appearance and spatial positioning working together to get people thinking less of these robots more than the others.

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