"Good morning Pepper!" "Is it still morning? Good morning then."
You might have heard about a Smithsonian robot by the name of Pepper. If you ask Pepper if it is a boy or a girl it simply responds with "I am just a robot." Pepper is one of 27 robots the Smithsonian has scattered throughout the broader Smithsonian Institution's museums.
Recently, Pepper came to visit SAAM, along with its Pepper parent to prepare for Technology Family Day this weekend! The robot showed us some of its unique interactive abilities including dancing, music making, and conversing with us. This weekend, Pepper will be stationed in the Kogod Courtyard, ready to show off a special skill newly programmed by Ian McDermott.
Most Peppers know how to do a few tasks, and act as hosts or storytellers, ready to help people find their way around a museum or display information or objects on its screen. Some, such as the Pepper that will be at SAAM, are more advanced and can be programmed to do specific things. Pepper has multiple ways of receiving information, and can then process and respond to that input. Prepare to present Pepper with your best happy, sad, or angry face, and the robot will read your emotion and interpret it. Pepper will then display an artwork from SAAM's collection on its screen, and, using a sensor in its hand, will read the colors and composition of the artwork and turn that information into electrical signals to create a soundscape of ambient music.
If you make it to the museum this weekend, make sure to stop and ask Pepper a question or two. The robot will be in the building on Saturday September 22, 2018 for Technology Family Day.