In recent years, Cirque du Soleil has conducted several experiments with different types of robots: industrial robots and drones, both acrobatic and comic. In this case, it is the French Nao robots that have been developed by “adding” them a personality.
An original audition
The primary goal was to see if it was possible to develop an acrobatic language of a robot: “what if the robot was an acrobat?”. You can see in the video a Nao robot go through an audition to become an acrobat for Cirque du Soleil. Even if no particular project followed this workshop, the creative exploration was really interesting. Acrobat robots for the future? Let’s see…
Yoga and robots
The second workshop was to further explore the interaction between Nao robots and a clown, since the latter can adapt to the technical “surprises” that limit these robots.
“What if we give a personality to the robot?.”
This challenge was really interesting. Two Nao robots participated at a yoga class, created by our creation team, in an entertaining and playful way. This yoga class was finally presented at C2 Montreal in 2016. During their interaction with participants, our team found that it was possible to push the limits of the theatrical game of the Nao robot.
This workshop allowed us to create short stories and observe the interactions between humans and robots. Making them more endearing and “true”, they need to be a little clumsy, like humans sometimes are. Look at this video to see how nice they look!