Designing a personal robot
From the beginning of the design process, we continuously challenged ourselves with the question: “On the line that stretches from a humanoid to a consumer product, where would we like to locate temi?” We wanted to avoid the uncanny valley and refrain from giving temi human like characteristics which will make it overpromise. On the other hand, we did want to give temi a subtle human resemblance, trying to attract some immediate familiar feelings from the user, and give temi the physical presence needed. The visual language should relate to the enigmatic atmosphere of Sci-fi, trying to achieve the magical feeling of supreme technology by not revealing information on what lays inside. The outcome embodies the balanced tension between these two ends, as we see it.
We aspired to create something that is beautiful and interesting while it rests at its living room docking station. A product that is a “piece” on one hand, but is also very clean, slick and simple so it’s looks won’t grow old. We were challenged with the need for high-end aesthetics which serve usability while incorporating numerous wires, 16 sensors lasers and cameras, moving mechanisms and electronic cards.
temi’s visual language needs to project a positive, welcoming personality. That’s why we thought Temi should have gentle curved surfaces rather than angular sharp lines.
Its dimensions needed to be substantial enough to have some presence, to give the feeling of an entity rather than a “screen-on-stick” but slim and small enough so it’d fit in any house and drive through narrow passes. Roaming around our house or office it must be stable – so we shifted most of its weight to its bottom, and took stability into consideration when deciding on its height – the lower it is the more stable it is, but if too low – its presence becomes bug-like and the video chatting camera angel becomes low and unattractive. If it was higher, it’s presence becomes a bit disturbing and stability is lost. Temi’s screen height starts at 72 cm – the height of a standard table – so the camera angle is optimal for both seated and stand-up situations – thanks to the screens tilt mechanism that adjusts the screen and cameras to your face. Its wireless charging tray can also carry snacks, books etc. and is sturdy enough to support someone leaning on it as assistance to get up from the couch.
Although temi is composed of extremely complex parts, we aimed to create the simplest user experience to the customer, so all its technology was simplified to a one touch button on the top of its head which is quite informative using only a “breathing” led line.
The dream of a real personal robot that has true benefit at home has inspired countless minds for more than a century. While designing temi, we could not ignore some of the well-known fiction creations such as Rosie the robot, Johnny 5 and the wonderful Wall-E. Our aim was to create a genuine classic look that will echo on while addressing its fiction ancestors.