A computational anthrozoology perspective on horse-machine interaction: explored through the umamimi robotic horse ears
Date: 2 November 2018
British Animal Studies Network (BASN)
Computational Anthrozoology includes both (i) using computers (or any other digital-era technology) to study human interspecies relationships and (ii) studying human interspecies relationships that are themselves mediated by computers. ‘Umamimi’ is a prototype machine (fitting into category (ii), above), providing a human-animal with ...
Computational Anthrozoology includes both (i) using computers (or any other digital-era technology) to study human interspecies relationships and (ii) studying human interspecies relationships that are themselves mediated by computers. ‘Umamimi’ is a prototype machine (fitting into category (ii), above), providing a human-animal with animated horse ears. This work is not intended as a subject of serious quantitative evaluation, but more about exploring communicating as horses do, with subtly of expression, mediated by a machine. Umamimi means ‘horse ears’ or ‘horse eared’ and the author has used this name to reflect the Japanese tradition called ‘Kemonomimi’ (animal eared), which is found in both anime and manga. When the human makes small changes in the inclination of her head, Umamimi’s built-in accelerometer responds with programmed ear movements: fully forward, fully back or either ear turned outward. When in neutral (meaning that the accelerometer and therefore the device is level), a range of random default ear flicks and movements have been specified. The author will describe his autoethnographic work, which reflects on his experiences as an ‘embedded horse’, spending time within his own small herd of domesticated horses. How did it feel to communicate with horses through the movements of robotic ears?
Sociology, Philosophy & Anthropology
College of Social Sciences and International Studies
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