The Smile Project is an ensemble of artificially intelligent, human scale robotic sculptures that express themselves emotionally to each other and their audience. They simulate human behavior through body language, sound and facial expressions.
The catalyst for The Smile Project came from my experience in group therapy, my career as a professional software architect, and my training as a visual artist. While participating in group therapy, I observed repeating patterns of behavior, and started to wonder how this might be represented visually. My experience as a software architect led me to consider these visualizations as software simulations. I created interactive computer programs whose purpose was to model emotional states. This was represented through animated mouth drawings and sounds. Ultimately, as a sculptor, I was compelled to give life to these simulations by sculpting bodies that incorporated robotics, making them capable of gesturing and interacting with humans in a real three-dimensional space. The software thus became the brain embodied within the sculptures, realized as Neil and Iona.