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Human ❤ Robot is a large scale, interactive robot designed to spread positivity in public spaces. The goal is for students to become familiar with the idea that creating for your community can make a real difference - no matter how small - in people’s lives. Designing intuitive circuit switches that can be activated in unconventional ways inspires children to create a variety of human-robot interactions.


Lead Designer


1 Designer, 1 Hardware Engineer


May 2019


The Brief

It can be easy to make something that ONLY you or your friends will play with… but it can be really challenging to design something that will be used by everyone! This week will be all about positivity and engineering focused on one simple goal: brightening people’s day.

The focus of this project is to engage children's empathy and stir their philanthropic drive by making a hands-on, interactive robot for their community. 

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The process

The first Human ❤ Robot prototype concept was a robotic sidewalk stepping stone that would activate when stepped on. The goal was to get students thinking about ways that they could brighten the mood of the public in unexpected ways.​

We were excited by this concept and tried to see how well it worked in execution by creating a quick prototype.

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After testing the prototype, it became clear that the stepping interaction was too complicated to replicate with kids. When considering what interactions were most intuitive for our students, it led to the next prototype: a hugging robot! It adopted the same squeezing motion as the stepping stone but was now standing vertically making it easier to activate. (46).gif (45).gif

Throughout our prototype iterations, the main thing we struggled with was creating a large scale standing structure that would remain stable even when hugged. 

For the final prototype, we ended up using metal music stands for the following reasons:

• Students could use magnets to easily attach and detach robotic features anywhere on the base

• They remain stable and require little assembly

• They have a large base that acts as a blank canvas for students to decorate on (48).gif

The final project

The final Human ❤ Robot project was developed as a hands-on project to be instructed in a week long summer camp setting. Kids ages 3-12 were all confident creators of this project!

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