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MIT Museum: Kismet the AI robot smiles at you | by Chris Devers
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MIT Museum: Kismet the AI robot smiles at you

Gretings, @robotants readers!


Pictures of Kismet: Nikon #1, Nikon #2, iPhone #1, iPhone #2.


The caption under the Fox Trot cartoon reads:




Kismet (1993-2000)


Here you can get a first-hand look at one of the world's most famous robots. There are 7 DC motors, 14 servo motors, 4 cameras and 2 microphones as well as jacks for audio, video, computers and power. Can you find them? These are things that connected Kismet to its computers and software and helped it interact with human beings in a natural way.


MIT Museum Collections


Transferred from MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory"




Quoting Wikipedia's Kismet article:




Kismet is a robot made in the late 1990s at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with auditory, visual and expressive systems intended to participate in human social interaction and to demonstrate simulated human emotion and appearance. The name Kismet comes from the Arabic, Turkish, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi word meaning "fate" or sometimes "luck".[1]


Design and construction


In order for Kismet to properly interact with human beings, it contains input devices that give it auditory, visual, and proprioception abilities. Kismet simulates emotion through various facial expressions, vocalizations, and movement. Facial expressions are created through movements of the ears, eyebrows, eyelids, lips, jaw, and head. The cost of physical materials is an estimated US$25,000.[1]


Four color CCD cameras mounted on a stereo active vision head and two wide field of view cameras allow Kismet to decide what to pay attention to and to estimate distances. A .5 inch CCD foveal camera with an 8 mm focal length lens is used for higher resolution post-attentional processing, such as eye detection.


By wearing a small microphone, a user can influence Kismet's behaviour. An auditory signal is carried into a 500 MHz PC running Linux, using software developed at MIT by the Spoken Language Systems Group that can process real-time, low-level speech patterns. A 450 MHz PC running NT processes these features in real-time to recognize the spoken affective intent of the caregiver.


In addition to the computers mentioned above, there are four Motorola 68332s, nine 400 MHz PCs, and another 500 MHz PC.[1]


Maxon DC servo motors with high resolution optical encoders are positioned to give Kismet three degrees of eye movement, which allow it to control gaze direction and gives Kismet the ability to move and orient its eyes like a human. This allows Kismet to simulate human visual behaviors. It also allows humans to assign a communicative value to eye movements and to allow Kismet to focus on what it deems important in its field of vision.


Kismet shows a strong resemblance to Gizmo, a creature from the 1984 movie Gremlins.


In the media


Kismet has been featured on NBC as well as Discover magazine and is the project of Cynthia Breazeal. It also played a small role in the Steve Reich opera Three Tales, as a symbol of the development of artificial intelligence, and also a voice of traditional ethics.



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Taken on March 21, 2010