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Redesigning the Affective Tigger

[Figure 2-2: The state diagram for the prototype Affective Tigger used in the pilot study.]

The first prototype of the Affective Tigger was constructed using a single servo motor, the HANDY board, a switch, and a bend sensor. I printed a skull on the Stratasys Genisys 3D printer using True Space and Quick Slice. This skull housed the servo motor controlling the positioning of The Affective Tigger's ears. This skull was determined to be too hard, and heavy. It was replaced with a soft rubber ball in the Affective Tigger's head, and a custom housing for the servo in his body. This prototype had no vocal expression and only responded to being bounced and having his neck bent.

In the second generation of the Affective Tigger, a small plastic jaw was included that closed the Affective Tigger's mouth when he was `unhappy' and opened it when he was `happy'. Several vocalizations were added (see section on voice) that represented the various emotional states. When the three teenaged children were asked to identify the expressions of the Affective Tigger after the inclusion of voice, they all commented on how much easier it was.

[Figure 2-3: An unhappy Tigger with his mouth sewn shut.]

In three of the main trials, the three to five year old children were introduced to the Affective Tigger with no preliminary instruction, and asked to figure out on their own what it is that the Affective Tigger does. The children had little difficulty identifying the Affective Tigger's emotions, even when they could not understand his words they could identify that he was happy or sad. On other occasions, either the parent prompted the child to `make Tigger happy' or the experimenter demonstrated what to do to the Affective Tigger. Sometimes the experimenter was compelled to prompt the child by asking `does Tigger look happy or sad?'.

On one occasion, 18 third grade students from a nearby elementary school were presented with two Furbys and the Affective Tigger. They took to the Furbys first, then started to play with and identify the Affective Tigger's behaviors. After ten minutes, the boys in the class were primarily clustered around the Furbys, and making up stories about their chatter. The girls on the other hand were primarily interested in the Affective Tigger, and were teaching each other what to do to elicit a response from him.

It was counter to my intuition that the boys of the group would be more interested in the passivity of the Furby. They were not interested in his switches or buttons, only in the vocalization produced. It surprised me to see the girls involved in the more hands on discovery process of what makes the Affective Tigger work.

next up previous contents
Next: Preliminary Conclusions Up: Recognizing Tigger's Expressions Previous: Recognizing Tigger's Expressions

Dana L Kirsch
Tue May 25 08:59:22 EDT 1999