Preparation of Custom Content
Custom content can be created by Engineered Arts, developed in conjunction with you, to cover any subject desired.
This page gives guidance on how to supply resources to Engineered Arts to create robot performances on your behalf.
What we need from you
- Written scripts with English translations
- Optional (but recommended): Audio voiceover files in an uncompressed .wav format recorded at 48khz. At a push we can also accept .mp3 or .ogg but the quality may be compromised
- Optional: Touchscreen button images for the Library screen 320x240 .jpg or .png format. If you are using a graphic, it is suggested you use .png with transparency
How it Works
You send us the script of what you want the robot to say and we will animate the performance for you and assign the sequence to a new button on the touchscreen interface.
If you like, you can send us images to be displayed on the buttons, otherwise the title will be displayed in text form only.
We recommend you split the 10 minute allowance into short sequences of around 1 minute or less. If the performance is too long and uninterrupted, people and especially children get bored and lose attention.
One idea would be to label a button with a question and when the visitor presses the button, the robot gives the answer (like this example from Carnegie Science Museum: How does a robot think?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfAzmjly1UA)
You can use a similar concept in a sales/customer service environment – ie. In a bank pressing the button “Tell me about Savings Accounts” will prompt the robot to perform a sales pitch about the range of savings accounts on offer.
To create the robot voice for your sequences, you have 2 options.
Pre-recorded voiceover files (preferred option for permanent content)
- This will give you the most human-like performance for dramatic effect.
- For the best results we recommend you engage the services of a professional voice artiste.
- If you like, we can quote to arrange this part for you.
- File formats .mp3 .wav and .ogg are supported. But .wav at 48khz is preferred
- We incorporate the audio file directly into the animated performance
Acapela Text to Speech (TTS)
- Our animator will type the script into the TTS engine which will generate an audio file we can use.
- You can choose voices from here: http://www.acapela-group.com/
- Sometimes the words need to be spelled phonetically to be pronounced properly. You can type your script into the Acapela demo above to check how it sounds first and amend the spelling where
- TTS is the quickest option and has the advantage of being editable if you decide to change the script.
Depending on our workload, we usually ask to receive your scripts and audio 4 weeks before we are due to ship. This gives us time to animate, make adjustments and install/test on the robot before it leaves our workshop.
However, you do not need to use all of your content allowance at once. Some customers prefer to familiarize themselves with the robot first and add content later. As long as you have a wired internet connection to the robot, we can program content and transfer it to your robot remotely after delivery.
If you need help with developing your content please do ask.
- Keep each sequence short, preferably under 1 min. (people have short attention spans!)
- A little humour goes a long way
- Notes on the personality/mood of the character always helps
- We will animate movements and gestures to fit with the script but if you want a specific gesture or emphasis at a specific point then make a note on the script to let us know. ie. “point forward with both hands here”
- Depending on the script, we may ask to get a video of a person performing the script, this can be helpful to our animators especially for non-English performances.
Below is an excerpt from a 2 robot performance at the Spanish National Science Museum. The robots' job is to welcome visitors on entry to the museum and give them information about their visit.
- Spanish script in black with English translation in blue..
- Each label (02_PX) refers to the corresponding audio file name (02_PX.mp3)
Robot character description:
- “Pepexan” is academic, disciplined, somewhat pedantic, with affected manners, he is orthodox, likes formality and tradition , educated, learned, prudent.
- “Marilú” is easy-going, practical, direct, unorthodox, ironic, progressive, child-like, impudent, cheeky
02_PX.-¡Marilú! ¿Deberíamos avisar a los visitantes de lo que supone entrar en el Museo?
(02_PX. - ¡Marilú! We should tell the visitors what is going on at the Museum)
03_M.- ¿Qué más da eso? Pepexán, poco a poco los visitantes empezarán a darse cuenta por si mismos de los cambios que sufrirá su cuerpo.
(03_M. - What do you mean? Pepexán, little by little the visitors will begin to realize for themselves the changes that your body will go through.)
04_PX.- Me niego a que se den cuenta de repente que sus ojos se convierten en pantallas y que sus brazos se muevan por aire comprimido
(04_PX .- I don't think that they will realize how suddenly their eyes will become screens (blinking) and that their arms will move by compressed air (pointing his hands and moving his fingers.)
05_M.- Al fin y al cabo saben a donde vienen, no pueden pretender hacer un viaje por la historia de la ciencia y la tecnología y salir aquí como si nada. De todos modos si quieres ponerlos sobre aviso, ¡Adelante!
(05_M. - At the end they will know where they come from, they can't attempt to journey through the history of science and technology and leave here as if nothing happened. In any case we can make them aware. Go on, go ahead. (gesture with her hand: go on!).
06_PX.- ¡Bienvenidos a la Sede Central del Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología! Estáis a punto de comenzar un viaje que cambiará vuestra forma de ver el mundo.
(06_PX .- Welcome to the Headquarters of the National Museum of Science and Technology! You are about to begin a journey that will change your way of seeing the world.)
Script writing guidelines
Script writing can sometimes seem like a daunting process. In order to make this experience as straightforward as possible, here are a few guidelines.
To start with, consider the gender and personality of your RoboThespian and note this on the script. This may help structure your writing and helps aid the animation process. It is worth mentioning that humour is an invaluable communication tool.
Try to keep the sequences short (<1 min) where possible. People's attention spans may be short.
Typical Welcome/Introduction example
Sequence one, ROBOTHESPIAN
Hello my name is RoboThespian, I am delighted to welcome you to The Northern Power House.
Sequence Two, ROBOTHESPIAN
The Northern Power house exports over 50 million pounds worth of goods every year.
Sequences can be played individually or combined into a play list.
If your script is intended for a captive audience, sequences can and should run for longer.
I… am RoboThespian. I am an acting robot. Despite
being created specifically to act, people often
ask, ‘Will you do my housework?’
(Irritated) No no, no no no. Double no with no on top.
(Pompous) I am an artiste. Would you ask Sir Patrick Stewart to do your washing up?
(Regal impression of Patrick Stewart performing Shakespeare) No, sire! You would not.
Think of a television advert, clever tag lines and quick efficient delivery ensure the audience are entertained and informed.
Using these tools, RoboThespian can help your audience learn about your product/event or exhibition in a quick & fun way.
When it comes to timing scripted content try to use the following format.
Approximately 1 minute of content per page, the layout allows us to see a key movement, vocal cue or another specific note at the correct time during the sequence.
Lettering, sizing and spacing example
ROBOTHESPIAN (speaker in capitals, Courier New size 11)
(vocal or movement notes are written in Calibri, size 11, grey, bracketed italics) Speech is written in Courier New, Size 11 and in the centre of the page.
And now, one last treat before you go.
(Inhales dramatically, eyes closed, gets into The Zone to prepare for his big scene. Monologue below delivered with high drama, perhaps even a tiny bit overacted)
Ever since the first computers, there have always been ghosts in the machine. Why is it that when some robots are left in darkness, they will seek out the light?
How do we explain this behaviour? Random segments of code? Or is it something more? When does a personality simulation become the bitter mote... of a soul?
(“End of show” audio cue plays, and it’s time for ROBOTHESPIAN to take a bow)
If you have a queries or questions please contact us.
We look forward to preparing your content.