Therabot is a recently-started (2012 Q4) project to evaluate the effectiveness of a socially assistive robotic support system (i.e. robot-assisted therapy). The principal researcher is Dr. Cindy Bethel of Mississippi State University. The role of Golem Workshop is to perform the majority of technical development of the robot platform, as well as to help design the platform aesthetic. Golem Workshop aims to create a robotic system that evokes comfort and shows support.
Hand Command allows a user to send positional and configuration data to a remote system easily and intuitively. One hand is on the base to manipulate the control panel (buttons for noises, lights, etc.) and the other hand moves as if controlling a hand puppet. One of the primary goals of Golem Workshop is to bring about new and impactful experiences with robots and creatures effects, and the Hand Command was developed to simplify and yet enhance the production of such experiences.
The Brute Golem is a hulking beast of an animatronic. Developed for a Baltimore-area haunted attraction, this prop stands as a prototype of a new kind of haunted house animatronic - one that is highly configurable through on-the-fly reprogramming, live show control with the Hand Command system, and uniquely coordinated axes of movement. Another aim of the project was to set a higher bar with the level of sculptural detail.
Puppbot, also controllable by the Hand Command, was designed to fit inside ordinary hand puppets. It is a fairly simple mechanical design, aimed at mimicking only the relevant movement of a human hand. This technology enables a robot designer to easily add specific personality to their robot by simply "reskinning" it with a new puppet, as well as enabling hand puppets to appear to come alive without human operators! It is shown here superimposed onto 'Crackerneck', a realistic goblin developed to exemplify how the Puppbot isn't just for kiddie puppet shows.
Golem Scrolls are the electronic subsystems running several of the projects shown above, as well as other developmental systems. Each printed circuit board has specific functions for its parent system, and operates through communication with other Scrolls or individually. For example, the Hand Command is a haptic interface device wrapped around a Golem Scroll, and that Scroll sends information about itself to the Action Scroll held in the Puppbot. The Action Scroll records and stores this data so that it can later execute a sound and movement performance.