Robot Mask: Part One
"There are so many people suffering with the problem that they are not able to control their facial expression, which is the facial paralyzed patients and the facial palsy ones. But so many, 80% or 90% of patients are semi-paralysed which means it is only one side that is palsy. So the idea is very simple to get signals from healthy side and to feed it to the other side of the palsy paralyzed part, so we can make some symmetrical face. But it is not only for making the symmetrical face. The important thing is, like for people with neural debilitation is that their own voluntary actions can generate the actions on the paralyzed side that can create facial expression" tells Kenji Suzuki, who has made "Robot Mask" together with Dushyantha Jayatilake and Anna Gruebler.
And he continue: "So actually we provide a kind of tools for a rehabilitation tool. Very simply to put near in front of them and they can train and they can work. They can play with their own face for recovering their ability to generate facial expression. First, this is a kind of what we can rely on with brain plasticity and still we don't know if this is the good way and best way. But looking at some other things like prothesis for legs, prothesis for arms, they are all designed for the same mission. So why not apply these technologies for the face. So we're getting the signals from the face and making the physical displacement of the face. This is the essence of the Robot Mask project. So much playfull and very much serious too".
"Our project is a robot mask. It is very simply and it is a device to make people smile. To make people smile there's many ways, but we took some physical ways. So we'd like to put this apparatus onto a persons head. It can physically control and maneuver a human's face. A very important thing is also that is not like to be controlled artificially, because there's a voluntary control that is doing that. So like the other devices we had developed it is simply a device to detect the smile".
"We can detect a smile. Because when you smile and when you use facial expression, your facial muscles will give some electrical signals which we can analyze in real time. So, we can develop such kind of the smile detection system. It is also possible to make others smile physically. So there's two devices on where two different people can make each other smile. These two devices in one means that you can control your right hand by using your left side".
"This is fun but it is very difficult for person to make some assymetrical face. So one part of you can smile but the other part can't smile, because it's very difficult".
"Robot Mask is combining bioengineering and medicine. And also, as you know, it's very nice to make it compact from an artistic viewpoint. But also from an academic viewpoint it's the best way to get the signals. It's very difficult to create stable detection of signals because it moves a lot. So we investigated where is the best place, not only from a signals viewpoint but also from a physical movement viewpoint. Afterwards we realized that technology could be very small and compact, but also that the silent duct can make the robot to be a stable device".
[image source: Vive Les Robots!, Ars
[source: Vive Les Robots!]
"Our project is a robot mask. It is very
simply and it is a device to make people smile. To make people
smile there's many ways, but we took some physical ways. So we'd
like to put this apparatus onto a persons head. It can physically
control and maneuver a human's face. A very important thing is also
that is not like to be controlled artificially, because there's a
voluntary control that is doing that. So like the other devices we
had developed it is simply a device to detect the smile" tells