Rejected By My Own Robot — A Disobedient Kissing Machine

“Rejected By My Own Robot” is a disobedient kissing robot which is activated when the user approaches. The mechanical lips will extend towards the user as they inch closer. But the kiss will never be consummated: move too quickly or get too close and the lips will quickly retract, ultimately rejecting the user every time.

This interactive art installation is a physical computing project I created as a part of my masters program at the Creative Computing Institute, University of the Arts London.

I think this interactive experience be interpreted in several ways. Some questions it raises for me personally:

  • What value is there in technology being disobedient? 
  • What danger is there in our expectations that technology will always work “efficiently” and submit to our will?
  • Can AI give consent? Does it need to?

The project is built using an Arduino to control several sensors and actuators, including: 

  1. A couple distance sensors: one outside the box to detect an approaching user and one embedded within the mechanical lips to accurately detect the user’s “kissing distance”
  2. A linear actuator consisting of a 3D printed gear and pinion system and a 360 servo (figuring out how to build a structurally sound linear actuator from 3D printed materials that could withstand the weight of the lips/sensor was one of the bigger challenges of the project)
  3. A couple standard servos controlling the “gates” of the robot lips which open and close when a person is near
  4. A strip of LED lights to indicate the status of the machine (idle, active, rejected)

The robot enclosure is constructed from mixed paper materials, 3D printed parts, lipstick, and magazine advertisements

Project Page | instagram