An adorable companion robot for Mayfield Robotics, a Bosch Startup.
The team at branch built on over 90 years of "cuteness" development by artists from Disney to Pixar to imbue Kuri with an adorable character. Understanding how proportions and curvature communicate personality was crucial to bringing a softness and approachability to the robot.
Rather than use a tablet screen to animate the Kuri's eyes the team chose large three dimensional eyes with a physical eyelid. Subtle movements of the eyelid allow Kuri to express a surprising range of emotions that have so much more life than a sterile digital display.
Kuri houses a lot of sophisticated technology - a serious design challenge since these high tech sensors do not convey "cute" or "approachable"! Creative solutions had to be devised to make sure the advanced tech didn't make Kuri look like a T-800. Hidden behind Kuri's left eye there is an HD camera show you what Kuri can see, mapping sensors in Kuri's belly and small microphones in the chest help Kuri navigate.
Kuri needs to turn and face people when interacting, so an articulated head was a requirement. A perfect sphere was used for Kuri's head to allow easy movement without a complicated neck mechanism.
Kuri is earnest, and she displays a sincere and intense conviction with what she is tasked to do. She listens intently and then takes off to accomplish the mission. Kuri is also Curious, reacting to her environment via motion and sound inputs.
Many full scale mock-ups were created throughout the design and development process. They were often used to imagine Kuri in the home as well as for acting out how Kuri would behave in real life scenarios.