Robotic motion

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Diana Knight shows off her impeccable skills

Robotic motion is the kind of movement typically exhibited by actual humanoid robots. When portraying robots, actresses can mimic this type of motion to more convincingly convey their roles. This type of movement can also be referred to as "click and pop", and has been common in urban dance genres for decades.


Degrees of freedom

The primary reason that most humanoid (and non-humanoid) robots have this particular way of moving is that they possess limited degrees of freedom when compared to actual humans. It has been estimated that humans have around 1380 degrees of freedom, while the HRP-4C robot (for example) has only 42.

Another reason is that human motion is based on the way the musculoskeletal system operates. Most functional robots today do not have similar systems, and instead operate based on electrically powered mechanical systems. Such electromechanical motion systems do not have the "fluid" and "graceful" motion capabilities that humans and other animals have. Electromechanical motion tends to be stiff, jerky and abrupt in comparison. Such movement can also be reliably precise and exact in exertion, pressure, range and speed.

Animated example of an Actroid robot shutting down

"Old fashioned" jerky robot movement may have it's origins more in hydraulics than in modern electromechanical systems. Older hydraulic systems have a tendency to 'bounce' a little and have sharp acceleration curves (think older version's of Disney's Hall of Presidents). Some systems were limited to open only one or two valves at once so movement was limited to the same number of axis. This would lead to a linear progression of motions rather than simultaneous actions.

In programming a more modern system, such as one expected to be found in a fembot, electrical motors would be used and capable of achieving a smooth acceleration profile. However, a programmer striving for efficiency (rather than realism) might program only the necessary movement, not complimentary but otherwise wasteful actions. For example a fembot reaching for an object could just extend an arm, grasp the object, and retract (fewest motions, most energy efficient, simplest design). The rest of the fembot's body would remain completely still. However a human would exhibit many complementary motions such as extending the other arm in an opposite direction to 'counter balance' maybe twist the torso slightly to make for a more comfortable movement.

Role in media

Actresses playing the part of female robots can use these differences in motion to their advantage to convincingly pass themselves off as machines. This is one of the hardest ASFR-related acting skills to hone, simply because it goes completely against the way that humans naturally move. The attempted use of robotic motion in an ASFR video can also backfire badly if the actress doesn't understand what the motion is supposed to look like.

One potential method for actresses (especially those portraying functionally limited fembots) would be to focus on only necessary movements and make those movements precise and efficient. Walking would involve leg/hip movement but the upper body would remain still. All movements would be in straight lines rather than curves. If visual effects are possible, a slight increase in speed (1.5-2x) could show 'inhuman' precision without getting to comical 'Benny Hill' paced action.

In fiction

More examples

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Fembot tropes
Hardware and software Access panelAssemblyDamageDisassemblyFaceoffRepairRobo-vision
Processes and actions ActivationData transferMalfunctionProgrammingRebootRechargeShut-down
Appearance and sound Blank stareElectronic beepingRobotic motionRobotic voiceWhirring sounds

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