Introducing the Fenn, a Touchy-Feely Robot

Robotics Technology
Introducing the Fenn, a Touchy-Feely Robot
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The Fenn brings a “ball” to Ian.
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Ian Danforth.

Ian Danforth has created a robot he hopes change how people, mainly children, think about and interact with robots. It’s called the Fenn. Ian, founder of Embodied AI,  has written a children’s story about our contact with an alien planet and the creatures who live there. The Fenn is the robotic embodiment of one of those creatures.

In addition to outfitting the Fenn with a forward facing camera that allow it to recognize faces and other sensors, Ian is currently adding touch sensors and LEDs that light up in a flowing fashion when someone pets it. He’s out to create a robot that is more like a pet than a machine.

“I think if you start with a good, touching story and a child-like attitude you’re less likely to build something dangerous and more likely to build something that is beneficial for humanity,” Ian says.

Ian and the Fenn will be at Maker Faire Bay Area this month. Have a look.

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Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

View more articles by Stett Holbrook