Mira Robot sprung from the idea of using a 7-segment LED display to show facial expressions. I first saw an application of this in the Chintoo sculpture by Mohit Bhoite. This led me to explore how much emotion I could convey by just using four 7-segment LED displays. Mira is Spanish for ‘look!’, which I think works well for a robot whose gaze is its main point of attraction.
To highlight its capacity for conveying emotion through eye expressions, I designed an organic, ‘cute’, body for it. To aid rapid prototyping, I only printed the snap fit element for testing and then used paper prints of the segment display to see how different eye configurations would work on the robot. The final version will include an accelerometer so users can interact with the robot using different gestures, such as rocking it to sleep.
Mira will eventually sport an segment display, accelerometer, ESP32, and lipo battery. This is a work in progress as I’m still waiting for the parts to come in.
What I’ve learnt so far is that it can be fruitful to go really bottom-up and not start with what you want to achieve but the technology you have. This can then give you a whole new perspective on what you’re trying to design. I think this project will be really useful for Design Research Processes.