Blossom: A Tensile Social Robot Design with a Handcrafted Shell

Suguitan M. & Hoffman G., Companion of the 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) (2018).


We describe the design and implementation of Blossom, a social robot that diverges from convention by being flexible both internally and externally. Internally, Blossom»s actuation mechanism is a compliant tensile structure supporting a free-floating platform. This design enables organic and lifelike movements with a small number of motors and simple software control. Blossom’s exterior is also flexible in that it is made of fabric and not rigidly attached to the mechanism, enabling it to freely shift and deform. The handcrafted nature of the shell allows Blossom to take on a variety of forms and appearances. Blossom is envisioned as an open platform for user-crafted human-robot interaction.