Team 2

Experience telepresence and social connection via robotic arm.

Our interactive installation, "DuoLink," symbolizes interconnectedness by breaking down traditional barriers of distance in an innovative, immersive manner. Participants in two different locations can interact with each other by controlling robot arms that project their small movements, providing a unique experience that allows users to interact virtually as if they were in the same physical space.

The installation features two robotic arms facing each other. These arms replicate the user's movements and gestures. Users wear controllers on their wrists and gloves to control the robot's fingers. Each user faces the installation but is blocked from seeing the other participant directly. A camera above each robotic arm captures the user's face and displays it on a screen above the opposing arm, allowing each user to see a discrete facial view of the person they are interacting with, adding a social dimension to the experience while mainting the different location aspect.

Intended Experience
The essence of this installation is to foster a meaningful and playful environment that invites users to immerse themselves in a blend of digital and physical interactions. It aims to break down conventional barriers of distance in a novel, interactive, and immersive manner. Participants, whether friends or strangers, are encouraged to engage in various activities, such as collaborative drawing with chalk on the table or interacting with the various shapes of blocks presented in the space.

Outcome of Interaction
By interacting socially through robot arms, participants can build social connections and create memorable experiences from their collaborative activities. The purpose is to simulate a physical and social presence, bringing people together in a shared space despite being geographically separated. This unique setup promotes collaboration and communication, redefining the concept of proximity and making the world feel smaller and more connected.

Technical Description

Our project consist of 2 main technical aspects: Robotic Arms and Environment Installation.

The Robotic Arm

Our robotic arm installation features two arms facing each other, mimicking the hand gestures of the user controlling them. Crafted from a modified 3D model and printed with a 3D printer, each arm closely resembles a human arm, complete with shoulder, elbow, wrist, and finger joints akin to a claw.

Servos, including MG996R and MG90S micro servos, connect the arm's components, enabling joint movement. Hardware components such as breadboards, Arduino Uno boards, soldering boards, power supplies, and jumper wires facilitate the connection and power management for accelerometers and servos.

Accelerometers are strapped to both of the user's wrists to record rotational movements, which are then replicated by the servos in the robotic arm, controlling its shoulder and elbow. Users wear gloves with buttons on the tips of the index and thumb fingers, allowing them to turn the wrist or open and close the claw. This setup ensures independent accelerometer function and precise arm control. Arduino code enables control from both the accelerometers and buttons, interpreting arm movements and allowing precise control of the claw.

The Environment Installation

The installation aims to immerse users in different locations, with the only connection being through robotic arms. We construct a physical barrier using long wood and artboard to restrict users' vision, preventing full visibility of their interaction partner. Two users won't see each other directly, but can do so with the help of two cameras and two mobile phones. The cameras capture the users' facial expressions and emotions, while the mobile phones serve as displays for each user to view the other.

To cater for wide range of users' heights, we provide stands. The installation also includes a table with various shapes of blocks and chalk for collaborative activities, encouraging users to engage in creative and interactive tasks.