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From Motion Pictures to Robotic Features

Adopting film sound design practices to foster sonic expression in social robotics through interactive sonification

Time: Thu 2024-02-22 10.00

Location: Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm

Video link:

Language: English

Subject area: Media Technology

Doctoral student: Adrian Benigno Latupeirissa , Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID, Sound and Music Computing

Opponent: Associate Professor KC Collins, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Supervisor: Professor Roberto Bresin, Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID; Associate Professor Kjetil Falkenberg, Medieteknik och interaktionsdesign, MID; Associate Professor Iolanda Leite, Robotik, perception och lärande, RPL

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QC 20240131


This dissertation investigates the role of sound design in social robotics, drawing inspiration from robot depictions in science-fiction films. It addresses the limitations of robots’ movements and expressive behavior by integrating principles from film sound design, seeking to improve human-robot interaction through expressive gestures and non-verbal sounds.

The compiled works are structured into two parts. The first part focuses on perceptual studies, exploring how people perceive non-verbal sounds displayed by a Pepper robot related to its movement. These studies highlighted preferences for more refined sound models, subtle sounds that blend with ambient sounds, and sound characteristics matching the robot’s visual attributes. This part also resulted in a programming interface connecting the Pepper robot with sound production tools.

The second part focuses on a structured analysis of robot sounds in films, revealing three narrative themes related to robot sounds in films with implications for social robotics. The first theme involves sounds associated with the physical attributes of robots, encompassing sub-themes of sound linked to robot size, exposed mechanisms, build quality, and anthropomorphic traits. The second theme delves into sounds accentuating robots’ internal workings, with sub-themes related to learning and decision-making processes. Lastly, the third theme revolves around sounds utilized in robots’ interactions with other characters within the film scenes.

Based on these works, the dissertation discusses sound design recommendations for social robotics inspired by practices in film sound design. These recommendations encompass selecting the appropriate sound materials and sonic characteristics such as pitch and timbre, employing movement sound for effective communication and emotional expression, and integrating narrative and context into the interaction.