Petting zoos are fun, but they can also be kind of sketchy.
Is that rabbit being attacked by too many five-year-olds? Is that goat depressed?
But if the tactile experience were coming from robots and AI you might really be able to enjoy yourself.
Conveniently the London-based architecture and design studio Minimaforms, known for taking on experimental projects, created "Petting Zoo" populated by robots.
These electronic creatures learn and exhibit different behaviours based on their interactions with people.
Minimaforms used Kinects for tracking and awareness, and the robots use multiple camera streams to identify people's positions and gestures as they move through the "Petting Zoo" space.
The robots are programmed in the Processing language and environment which allows the Minimaforms team to add all different types of long-term goals and interaction scenarios for the robots.
Basically the installation is "Pat The Bunny" for adults. Finally.
Petting Zoo by Minimaforms is speculative robotic environment populated by artificial intelligent creatures that have been designed with the capacity to learn and explore behaviors through interaction with participants. Within this immersive installation interaction with the pets foster human curiosity, play, forging intimate exchanges that are emotive, evolving over time and enabling communication between people and their environment. The installation exhibits life-like attributes through forms of conversational interaction establishing communication with users that are emotive and sensorial. Conceived as an immersive installation environment, social and synthetic forms of systemic interactions allow the pets to engage and evolve their behaviors over time exhibiting features and personalities that are formed through their interactions with the general public. Pets interact and stimulate participation with users through the use of animate behaviors communicated through visual, haptic and aural communication. Pet interactions are stimulated through interaction with human users or between other pets within the population.