This Robot Takes Selfies and Gets Moody, Just Like Us

Do we really need more of this in the world?

Oct 4 2016, 3:00pm

Deltu ECAL/Alexia Léchot from ECAL on Vimeo.

Deltu the robot is just like us: It takes selfies, plays iPad games, and even gets a little moody. Deltu is an interactive delta robot, or parallel robot consisting of three legs connected via universal joints to the base. Delta robots are often used in factory settings to pick and pack objects.

Deltu was designed by interactive designer Alexia Léchot, who graduated from ECAL, a French university of art and design. She says she's interested in the relationship between robots and humans—and Deltu speaks to that.

The robot can tend to have a mind of its own. Deltu interacts with people by playing on an iPad. With two iPads, one for Deltu and one for the human, the robot challenges people to games, but gets upset if you don't mimic it precisely. If the robot gets upset, it might try to change its mind. Though while mentally independent, the robot still wants human company.

Depending on its mood, Deltu can also surf the web, take selfies with the iPad, and post them to Instagram.

While Deltu is wont to change its mind and get sassy if its human playmate doesn't do what the robot wants, the extent to which Deltu has emotions is debatable. Chances are, Deltu's emotional range is only a fraction of bots like Pepper, a Japanese robot programed to have emotions. Known as "the emotional robot," Pepper can feel joy, surprise, anger, doubt, and sadness.

Still, Deltu's "personality" can be a source of learning for humans, trying to figure out how to interact with a robot.

Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.