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Look Alive! The Motion of Life from Animation, Biology, and Robotics

Student Name: 
Maxx Naoyuki Yamasaki
Student Email: 
Supervised by: 
Phillip Thurtle

Which is more lifelike, a baby doll who is motorized to wiggle and cry or one whose eyes shut when tilted? Why are some human attempts to create lifelike motion more believable than others? This course will be an exploration of the human perception of life through motion, and human attempts to create and replicate lifelike movement. Look Alive! is a survey of the wide range of disciplines that observe the movements of the things we see as living. From the way motion separates groups in biology and neurology, to the actions of animals emulated by bio-inspired robots, to the role motion plays in judgments of human disability in media. We will take a critical and curious lense to the way humans use motion to create, destroy, and define.

Texts and Materials: Vehicles, Experiments in Synthetic Psychology by Valentino Braitenberg; The Animator's Survival Kit, Expanded Edition by Richard E Williams; King Soloman’s Ring by Konrad Z. Lorenz; Automata and Mechanical Toys by Rodney Peppe; the source code for the original Furby; and more!

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