Mira is the cutest robot you’ll ever see (and hide from)


This adorable bot uses facial recognition software to play peek-a-boo with humans. 


While you’ve probably seen countless robots before, we guarantee you that none have made you say “awwwww” quite like this one. That’s because Alonso Martinez, a character technical director at Pixar, has built a social bot that he calls MiraWhereas other humanoids have been designed to automate tedious tasks and lend a helping hand with chores around the house, this egg-shaped unit has one job: to make life better one smile at a time.

mira-robot

Proving just that, Martinez recently posted a video of Mira playing peek-a-boo with humans. In terms of appearance, the robot is pretty basic — but in the best way possible. The somewhat spherical device is equipped with a pair of eyes, a color-changing base, and if you look close enough at an earlier video, it appears to be driven by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328).

Being a Pixar character director and all, it’s no wonder Mira was inspired by the simplicity of animated robots like Iron Giant and Big Hero 6’s Baymax. Martinez tells PSFK that he began designing the friendly toy with a pencil and paper before migrating to modeling software, and ultimately, 3D printing her parts on an Ultimaker.

The project was originally designed, in collaboration with fellow Makers Aaron Nathan and Vijay Sundaram, as a way to explore human-robot interactivity and emotional intelligence. Over time, she will be able to understand more about the world and feelings, improving her ability to engage with people in a much more meaningful manner.

Mira

For now, Mira uses facial tracking technology to play the game of peek-a-boo. She will get sad when a user hides, which in turn, causes her color will change to purple. Yet as soon they reappear, Mira will wiggle in excitement, let out a joyful sound and emit various colors. If you think about it, pretty much like a pet.

While Martinez has yet to reveal if he will bring this cute companion to consumers, it is evident by its rising popularity — already 200,000 views on YouTube — that there are plenty of people out there who’d love a Mira for themselves. (Us included.) Not to mention, she’d be a nice little stress-releiver to have on your desk at work or home. After all, who doesn’t love a game of peek-a-boo?!

As we await to find out more, you can stay connected here. In the meantime, watch Mira in action below.

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