University of Twente Student Theses


Wearable Robotics & Facial Identity Perceptions

Galiën, Lot van der (2023) Wearable Robotics & Facial Identity Perceptions.

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Abstract:Masks have been used throughout history and across different cultures as a way to take on different identities. However, what if a mask was not made to assume a singe identity, but multiple ones? This question, raised by Jonathan Reus, served as the starting point of this project, which explores the development of a theatrical mask that is capable of embodying multiple identities. The process started with a comprehensive background research on identity, its relation to faces, and on theatrical masks. This was followed by background research on face perception and related phenomena as well as a state of the art analysis. The findings were structured and categorized through a mind map, simultaneously serving as a foundation to generate the project’s preliminary concept. This concept drew inspiration from a soft wearable robotic mask and used the critical features as its foundation, as modifications to these features was found to influence the perceived identity of faces. Thus, the concept was to use of soft wearable robotics to dynamically alter the mask's facial features and transform its identity. This initiated the prototyping process which facilitated the experimentation with various techniques, specifically silicone pneumatics and liquid injection, to inflate, deflate, and dynamically color the silicone facial prosthesis. Throughout the ideation phase, the project’s focus shifted to the exploration of various mask designs and their impact on facial identity perception. To do so, a co-design workshop was conducted, where participants from diverse backgrounds facilitated the creation of various masks. These mask designs were showcased in a theatre space, where their effects could be observed and evaluated under varying lighting conditions. Different masks elicited various effects, such as defying expectations of body movement, embodying dual identities, and even deforming facial identity, which could set a path for further research. Moreover, while the initial goal of a mask with multiple identities was not fully realized, the insights gained from the process could benefit future endeavors.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Programme:Creative Technology BSc (50447)
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