Embarrassed Robots (2017)

Artificial intelligence and robotics will play an increasingly important role in supporting our lives. Currently, AI and robotics remain crude – confined to our smartphones, sat-navs, or tasked to build our cars. To fit more seamlessly into our daily lives they will have to learn to successfully reflect our emotions – the embarrassment for example. Embarrassed Robots project proposes an investigation into how through material, form and function a robot can come to express emotion, without aping and alienating us.


Embarrassment is a quintessential human emotion and something that in the future any robot occupying a human facing role will need to be able to replicate. This project investigates how the design of a robot can come to express embarrassment.

This project is one of the selected projects of the Design Museum‘s Designers in Residence 2017.

Check also the project description from the exhibition catalogue:

” The project Embarrassed Robots questions whether emerging intelligent technologies will need to adopt human expressions and emotions in order to integrate better into our lives. Soomi Park uses design as a tool to analyse the role of robots, exploring their potential to support us socially. Her project focuses on the expression of embarrassment as a complex physical and mental reaction that is unique to humans. Throughout the development of the residency, museum visitors were invited to question the form, function and material of this robot. Soomi collated this research, and here presents scenarios in which these robots might be active. This enables visitors to consider what this technology may look like and invite them to ask, can robots blush? Her project questions whether robotics can demonstrate a more personal quality, and function as a companion as much as a device. “

Please see the project process via the project website



Design collaboration: Hyung-ok Park
Concept development and animation sketches: Owen Wells
Electronics: Mike Vanis, Matt Jarvis

Henry Leroy-Salta (Wolf – Guy)
Annabel Medland (Gabbie -Girl)
Ken Stamp (Anton – Postman)

Cinematography: Bertrand Rocourt
Sound: Adam Woodhams
3D Animation: Owen Wells
3D Design: Hyung-ok Park
Visual effect: Hiroki Yokoyama
Filming Assistant: Ira Pappa
Hair and makeup: Samantha Coles
Garments: Alice McPhail, Eszter Vas
Location provider: Eugenie Dolberg