DOI: 10.1145/3125389 COP YRIGH T HELD BY AUTHOR
(thermal bath), and other areas
currently excluded from the exhibit
due to issues of safety, restoration, or
cataloging. To do so, a museum guide
used a Web application to control a
robot. Apart from the willingness
to provide an extension and
enhancement of the heritage visit, we
devoted great attention to the possible
perceptual drawbacks. We focused on
how to communicate the particular
role and function of the robot and how
to define an aesthetics appropriate
for that specific context. Regarding
the first point, we chose to keep the
main elements, such as wheels, laser
scanner, and camera, visible so that
the function of the robot was explicit.
Regarding the familiar aesthetics, we
analyzed the heritage context from
a physical and cultural point of view.
This led to a robot design that, in both
form and decoration, recalls existing
elements of the heritage.
The cover, made of PMMA
(poly-methyl-methacrylate), has the
form of a truncated pyramid. This
morphology was chosen to recall
similar shapes, widely found in Savoy
tradition, used in obelisks, bollards,
and other architectural elements or
furniture. The choice of a transparent
material was determined by the need
to ensure maximum lightness from
both a structural and an aesthetic
point of view.
Furthermore, the body of the
robot was decorated with the aim
of customizing it in relation to the
context. It consists of decor, which
represents the Palagiana palm, an
existing decoration that can be found
in many artifacts of the castle. The
decoration, then, was both a way to
ensure aesthetic coherence and a
tribute to both the architect and the
history of a place characterized by
continuous evolution over centuries.
This design approach represented
a way to familiarize visitors with the
concept of remote access to otherwise
inaccessible areas. It also revealed
greater design opportunities for
considering the aesthetics of robotics
that went beyond their functionality
Maria Luce Lupetti is a Ph.D. candidate in
design for service robotics at Politecnico di
Torino, Italy. Her research, focused on human-robot interaction and play, is supported by
Telecom Italia Mobile ( TIM). During her Ph.D.
she has been publicity chair for HRI Pioneers
Workshop 2017 and a visiting scholar at
X-Studio in the Academy of Art and Design at
Tsinghua University, China.
The robot Virgil inside an area of the Castle of Racconigi. The illustrations show the two main
characteristics of the robot’s appearance: the shape and decoration.
The ACM Nominating
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