‶Alter" Production Team (ISHIGURO Hiroshi / IKEGAMI Takashi, Representatives) (Japan)
Excellence Award 2 min. 10 sec.
“Alter” is a robot endowed with “lifelike” attributes through not only its external appearance but also the complexity of its movements. It has a body composed of 42 pneumatic actuators and a face of indeterminate age and gender that “could be anyone’s.” Motion is controlled by a periodic signal generator modeled after the central pattern generators (CPG) in the spinal cord that control walking and other rhythmic movements, a neural network modeled after the neural circuitry of the human brain, and sensors placed around the robot. Actions generated by Alter’s CPG and neural network respond to data from brightness and distance sensors that monitor the robot’s surroundings, producing smooth and realistically chaotic movements. This is a work that poses the question, “Why does a machine that differs from living organisms in both its mechanisms and purpose of existence seem more lifelike at times than some organisms?”