This is more of a project course than a theory course, but we will have a few readings to help set the context and define the questions. Following are some suggested starting points for additional reading. The literature related to creative robotics is scattered across a broad range of sources.

The papers are categorized in the following sections with brief descriptions. The citations in the descriptions link further below to the full bibliographic references.

Robotics in Drama and Theater

“HERB’s Sure Thing”: A report on using a mobile two-armed research robot to perform opposite a human in a one-act play [73].

“Interactive robot theatre”: An article by Cynthia Breazeal et al. about a interactive “robot anemone” theater installation featuring real-time perception of the audience and generative behavior [6].

“Eight lessons learned about non-verbal interactions through robot theater”: a survey article by Heather Knight making the case that robot theater can motivate social robot design approaches [36].

“Viewpoints”: A theater and dance manual for teaching a systematic approach to creative movement [4]. This has nothing directly to do with robotics, but could provide a vocabulary for inspiring and categorizing robot movements. An earlier discussion of the same [20].

Still to review:

[30] [33] [46] [49] [41] [62] [13] [74] [39] [40]

Sculpture and Art

“Kinetic Art: Theory and Practice”: selections from the journal Leonardo surveying the history of kinetic art (not necessarily robotic) [43].

“motion motion Kinetic Art”: a survey of the history of kinetic sculpture (not necessarily robotic) [32].

Still to review:

[15] [67] [71] [68] [5] [69]

“The Multiple Bodies of a Machine Performer” (book chapter) [18].

Choreography and Dance


Believable Agents

“Robot improv”: a paper on applying AI methods to create rule-based generative behavior that enacts a drama with mobile robots [8].

“The role of emotion in believable agents”: an early paper on the idea of simulating emotional interaction between graphical agents [1], and a related CMU technical report [2].

Human-Robot Interaction

Still to review:

[65] [12] [27] [34] [53] [21] [14] [22] [77] [56]

Dynamic Robots

“The swing up control problem for the Acrobot”: An article by Mark Spong on controlling an inverted two-link pendulum with the actuator on the distal link [61]. The article is written for a control systems theory audience but represents a particular style of work controlling simple underactuated robots to perform surprising dynamic movements.

“Case study in non-prehensile manipulation: planning and orbital stabilization of one-directional rollings for the “Butterfly” robot” [63]. Builds up on [42]. An example of very simple one-DOF manipulator elucidating complex open-loop rolling motions using deep analysis of the dynamics. (Video:

Tad McGeer constructed several unactuated walking machines [48] [47] around 1989 which spurred development of many dynamic walking machines. A few examples: [17] [37] [16]

Other Robotics

“Learning tasks from observation and practice” [3] addresses machine learning in a space of behavior primitives, notably using air hockey and a marble maze as task examples. (Video:

Animation and Graphics

Still to review:

[54] [11] [38] [55] [66] [70] [58]

Uncategorized citations

Still to review:

[45] [44] [75] [28]

[7] [19] [24] [25] [26] [31] [57] [59] [64] [72]

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