Wizkid is a technological artwork exploring the human-machine interface, a bit like the eerie-eyeball OptoIsolator or the Mind Chair. Programmed to notice you walking nearby, it homes in on your face, stretching and twisting its neck to point its screen at you. With a bunch of gestures you can tell it to play games or browse information pages, and it even anticipates your desires—perhaps by slipping on some freeform jazz fusion when you walk in the door (hopefully, without then trying to seduce you). Intrigued? There's more info below the gallery.
WizKids designers Fréderic Kaplan and Martino d'Esposito are trying to show us a glimpse of future socially-smart gadgets that take you "away from the keyboard" and interact with you non-verbally. It's designed it to "converse" via moves and graphics, suggesting things you might want to do in a halo of icons around your onscreen image, which you select by waving at them—rather like the Sony EyeToy. Hold up a CD and it plays those tunes for you.
Kaplan and d'Esposito envisage it amusing your guests at a party, and acting in a strange Little Brother mode, snapping pics of each of your visitors and creating a party timeline—handy if you need to find out who barfed behind the sofa. The clever robot even remembers who's been talking to it, and can pick up the "conversation" later. It could even act as a smart teleconference device, following the movements of the speaker in a meeting.
I'm not sure the world is ready yet for a robot assistant that can wriggle to express confusion, or act as pleased as a puppy when you come back from work, but Wizkid is certainly fascinating. If you fancy a bit of mechanized chatting with it, it's on show at MOMA's Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition in New York, from February 24. [Wizkid via EurekAlert]