Cyclops is a human-shaped, interactive machine equipped with a flexible spine and a single eye*. The spine of Cyclops has a flexibility similar to that of the human spine; it is made up of multiple spherical joints controlled by around fifty Air Muscles. These are artificial muscles that move using air pressure**. Cyclops' single eye, a CCD camera, is connected to a computer that analyses the images that the eye 'sees'. The computer then distinguishes specific human-sized moving objects and, controlled by thirty-two electromagnetic air valves, Cyclops' whole body moves and changes its posture to track what it sees.
For humans, eye movements can be interpreted as an expression of emotion. The eyes help other people to understand one's thoughts and, even with limited eye movement, people can perceive complex feelings. Hence, the psychological effect of Cyclops' eye movements on the audience illustrates an important area of development for the design of future intelligent machines.
Cyclops' backbone has been constructed like that of a human being to allow it to bend and twist its body gently. Cyclops was conceived by focusing on the basics of the smooth motion of living beings and, therefore, has neither functional hands nor feet.
Cyclops cannot follow quick moves. If you notice that Cyclops is looking at you, try to move slowly. Cyclops does not have the intelligent features to allow it to be called a 'robot.' However, reflect on the meaning of 'intelligent life-likeness' while experiencing the appearance and smooth movements of this human-shaped machine.
* Cyclops was originally created for the Robot Meme Exhibition at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (MeSci) in Tokyo, in 2001-2002.
** Cyclops has been developed from research into a flexible spine robot carried out at the Jouhou System Kougaku Laboratory, the University of Tokyo, Japan, in 1999.
Special Thanks: Shadow Robot Company (Air Muscles), NICHINAN Corp. (Manufacturing)