Tega is a research platform designed to support long-term interactions with young children. The robot leverages smart-phone technology to not only graphically display facial expressions but also for computation, which includes behavioral control, sensor processing, and motor control to drive its five degrees of freedom: head up/down, body-tilt left/right, body-lean forward/back, body-extend up/down, and body-rotate left/right. For increased perceptual awareness, we augmented the phone’s ability with an external camera that can capture high-definition images with a wider field-of-view.
To withstand long-term continual use, the efficient battery-powered system can last up to six hours before requiring charge. We designed for robust and reliable actuator movements, including the ability to expand and contract rapidly through a lead-screw design between the torso and the head. This enables the robot to generate consistent and expressive behaviors over longer periods of time.