Robopet behavior ideas

Howdy all. I'd like to hit you up for some ideas. I am working on turning Flik (http://robotdirectory.org/details.cfm?id "3&cat=1) into
a pet for my desk at work. I plan to have a piece of paper behind my monitor with a large black area for him to roam, since he has line detectors. This will keep him from falling off of my desk. I know that I want him to be interesting and "cute", fun to watch and for him to give the impression of being a small, if stupid, animal living on my desk.
What I would like help with is: If you had a small pet that lived behind your monitor, what would you want it to do, specifically? What kind of behaviors would make him interesting?
His specs are listed on the robotdirectory page, but don't feel the need to limit your suggestions because of his hardware. These are the behaviors I have so far:
1. Follow the edge of his "area" 2. Wander aimlessly 3. Seek light 4. Avoid light 5. Sing a song
My wife has suggested having him play "fetch", so I am considering giving him a hall effect sensor and a magnetic "toy" to push around.
Anyone have any suggestions, ideas or advice they would like to give me?
Thanks, Robotguy http://robotguy.net/blog
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

This could be a fun thread!
Let's see. My first recommendation is probably counter intuitive. But I think it is the most important to make him interesting. Often exhibit the behavior of doing nothing.
Nothing catches the eye more that abrupt movement that then stops again.
Think about watching a cat. Most of the time when a cat is sitting still, you will glance at it a moment and then look away. However, let a cat be stalking prey, where it moves very occassionally, stops, freezes, and after a long moment moves again. You find you are drawn to watch, to see if it gets its prey or not. You will watch that much longer than you will a cat walking passed a window moving in a constant direction. Again, a cat playing, you see them burst in short motions, then crouch and wait for a response before jumping in short flight again.
So I'd advise what ever your choices of behaviors for him, if you want to draw attention, change them often, and do not fear long moments of pause, doing nothing.
-- Randy M. Dumse www.newmicros.com Caution: Objects in mirror are more confused than they appear
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RMDumse wrote:

Not to mention the fact that the more often he does nothing, the longer he'll go between charges. Hmmmm, maybe that explains the cat also....;-)
-Robotguy http://robotguy.net/blog
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Robotguy wrote:

I think that is right.
I made an argument not long ago in a long thread about behavior of the essence, any robot that occassionally changes its behavior, even randomly, looks more intelligent that one that does not.
In the same light, one that seems to react to its environment will look more intelligent than one that does not.
Put in other words, if you cycle
1) suddenly in dark? 2) random sleep 3) wake up go light seeking. 4) suddenly in light, random go dark seek
Will look more lifelike than one which does the opposite.
1) suddenly in light? 2) random sleep 3) wake up go light seeking. 4) suddenly in dark, random go light seek
Both look more intelligent than one that does no sensing
1) random sleep 2) random go
If you want to make it truly interesting and engender emotions from humans, make it react to human presence/attention. For instance, have a "frightened" behavior, where if its ranger sensors see something moving (i.e. the range sensors see something a range opening or closing faster than its own speed would account for, go dark seek, random sleep.
Or perhaps on loud noises (do you have a microphone?) go dark seek, random sleep.
The more interactive it is, the more it will seem interesting.
-- Randy M. Dumse www.newmicros.com Caution: Objects in mirror are more confused than they appear
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RMDumse wrote:

Wow, that's very true. I hadn't even thought of that. Thanks. I had started considering reaction to human presence, but overlooked environment completely.
Just also wanted to mention that I have been researching methods of making Flik more "lifelike" by looking into animation techniques. I figured that I could use the same sorts of methods that Pixar used to make Luxo look alive to give Flik a personality. I have found some quite interesting stuff. If anyone is interested, I'll post some links.
-Robotguy http://robotguy.net/blog
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Robotguy wrote:

Had another thought for you. I was watching the HBO series Rome last night. The scene was the viewing of Ceasar's corpse. I though how hard it must have been for that actor to lay there for the long shot and not take even the slightest breath.
It occurred to me, we humans are very good about noticing very slight, subtle, clues to tell if something is dead or alive. If you give your robot a very low level output, even when it sleeps, it will seem more life like than without. So perhaps your robot should snore when it sleeps, or have a very dim "pulsating" LED, to give it the look of a heartbeat or breathing cycle, rather than "playing possum" and looking like the dead machine it really is.
-- Randy M. Dumse www.newmicros.com Caution: Objects in mirror are more confused than they appear
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The OmniZero robot (one of the top Robo-One competitors), in the demo phase of its last competition, feigned sleep very convincingly, using small movements to make it appear that its chest was slowly moving up and down. It was subtle yet very compelling at the same time. I don't have a video link handy, but a search at robots-dreams.com might turn it up.
Best, - Joe
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Joe Strout wrote:

http://www.robots-dreams.com/2006/03/roboone_9_omniz.html
Wow. That was really nifty. He added several small touches to make the robot appear "alive", like breathing motions and finger twitches. I think what I may have to do is decide on an animal to emulate, and do some serious observation to duplicate mannerisms and motion. Thanks for pointing that out Joe!
PS. I added links to the animation stuff I found on my blog if anyone wants to take a look. See the link in my sig.
-Robotguy http://robotguy.net/blog
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