Vyo is a prototype of a superintendent social robot as a centralized interface to manage smart home devices. The robot combines several interaction paradigms, including screen feedback, expressive gestures, and physical icons as a means of communication with the robot.

The empathic robotic assistant, Vyo, is a social robot that was designed to serve as a centralized interface for smart home management. When designing the robot, we worked in a large team that included academic researchers, industry partners, puppet designers, engineers, and animators. The interdisciplinary nature of the project resulted in several novel design outcomes that were integrated into the final prototype.

Our microscopic-like robot communicates with the user using tangible physical icons (“phicons”). The user places one of the phicons, each representing a smart home device, onto the robot’s rotating turntable to control the device or to monitor it.