Soft Robotic Incarnation: Interrogations of mediated intercorporeality

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesis


This thesis is a postphenomenological interrogation into the use of soft
robots as mediating bodies between humans, attempting to unfetishize
their imaginative figure of the stranger through an event I call incarnation. Based on my own encounters with Palestinians for conflict resolution
and through readings of phenomenological and sociological studies, I determine the importance of the physical body, its fleshiness, non-linearity
and organic qualities for the constitution of intercorporeality - a meaningful and transformative dialog. I investigate the potential of non-human
robotic avatars to achieve intercorpreality and liberate the interlocutors
from prejudice and identity constraints, proposing the use of soft robots
as a medium of re-embodiment that could facilitate massive scale physical
incarnations and create physical encounters between people who are un-
able to otherwise meet in person. As a proof-of-concept, a novel method
for the production of soft robotic avatars is introduced, capable of bodily haptics, language translation, and animalistic emotional expression.
The avatar is operated using a web-based software platform that enables
easy development of third party applications. Using this method, HITODAMA, a first prototype for a soft robotic avatar, is produced. I perform
an initial evaluation of the robot in an encounter between people of different cultures, using an example app in which they get to know one another
using pictures. I analyze the results by conducting interviews with the
participants, following the principles of interpretative phenomenological
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

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