MyPleo is a mobile extension to the play experience of Pleo the artificial pet dinosaur. INESC-ID developed MyPleo as a way to explore how a continuous interaction with a robot might “migrate” from a physical robot to a virtual companion.
The behaviour of the robotic companion is driven by needs that can be affected by users’ interactions such as petting and feeding. The handheld experience adds extra functionalities not available in the robot, such as additional games and narrative. In the process of “migrating” from one to the other, the pet’s needs (e.g., energy levels) are transferred via Bluetooth to the handheld device. Using a sleeping metaphor when the robot migrates to the smartphone, it curls up and closes its eyes. When the reverse takes place, the robot springs to action and opens its eyes. Users can perform the switch, regardless of which body is active, by using the smartphone interface. The robot used in this scenario was a modified version of the robot Pleo from Innvo Labs, and the Android application was developed at INESC-ID. INESC-ID aimed to provide a continuous interaction and at the same time combine the portability of the virtual body with the unique tactile experience of the physical body.
INESC-ID is a partner in LIREC (Living with Robots & Interactive Companions) a 5 year EU-funded project that ends in August 2012.