Swiss-Mexican designer Nicole Pérez has a not-so-traditional idea to make robot companions more humanlike: make them more annoying.
“What if a robot would forget the keys in the car, or forget to buy the groceries? What if they can tease you and show affection through that? I think this is an area that hasn’t been explored in the field of automating intimacy,” says Pérez.
Pérez designed a series of misbehaving robots that basically do nothing but a series of annoying yet endearing little acts, like pinching your ear or poking you. You can watch them in action in the video above.
More art projects than commercial products, Pérez says her robots are designed to encourage people to rethink the relationship between humans and robots. She believes that the flaws of a partner strengthens a relationship, and that the same rule applies to both human relationships and human-robot relationships.
“If you’re not challenging a person in a relationship then it’s just not a relationship. Then you’re just having a toy.” says Pérez.
Besides the three robots you see in the video, Pérez just finished making a fourth one: The Tickler. She plans to create another one called The Farter, aka the farting blanket.