Most of us are familiar with the bouncing lamp at the beginning of the Pixar movies (below)—it’s pretty cute as it leaps across the screen and squashes the “I” in Pixar before replacing it with itself. Now imagine a real life version of that and you have the Pinokio—built by Adam Ben-Dror, Shanshan Zhou, and Joss Dogget—an animatronic lamp imbued with what appear to be emotional characteristics.
The team behind it say it’s “an exploration into the expressive and behavioral potentials of robotic computing,” which means the lamp becomes responsive to its environment, able to hear sounds, and causes us gullible humans to look at it as we would an animal or small child striving for our attention. It follows people around longing for them to engage with it and can even turn itself back on once it gets switched off. It reacts like this thanks to some facial-tracking software, a webcam, and the power of Arduino.
You may think you’re powerless to its charms now, but just wait until your home is riddled with household objects like this that play with your emotions—it’ll be like something out of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and you’ll be drowning in cute until your only recourse is to smash them all to pieces to escape.
The bouncing Pixar lamp and its origin