Dezeen Magazine

Central Saint Martins graduate creates misbehaving robots designed purely to annoy you

Swiss-Mexican designer Nicole Pérez has designed a series of misbehaving robots that mimic the annoying aspects of intimate relationships.

Made from thermoformed plastic coated with flocking fibre, the mechanical designs include a robot that smears lipstick on a pillow, one that prods at you with its metal arm and another that pinches and pulls at clothing.

The trio of robots form Perez’s graduation project for her MA in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins, London. The project, titled Misbehaving (ro)bots, asks the question: Can misbehaving robots replace the need for intimate human relationships?

The project was designed in response to the rapid investment and development of virtual reality, augmented reality and artificial intelligence.

"What we perceive as real is becoming increasingly difficult to quantify and takes us a step closer to the virtual and real world becoming inseparable and intertwined," said Pérez.

"In the future, experts in the field, as well as myself, believe that even the most primitive and basic of human needs, such as love and intimacy, could take place with non-human partners."

Instead of physical efficiency and wellbeing, Pérez chose to explore the "often overlooked frustrating" and "not always entirely pleasurable" aspects of human relationships.

“Their purpose is not to be efficient but unnecessary, fulfilling the non-practical, useless actions that we feel in a relationship,” explained Pérez. “After all, being in an intimate relationship is not only about dealing with pleasure and fun – it is also about dealing with the rest.”

Other recent projects published on Dezeen that explore how technology is becoming more human include a robotic arm that writes repeated promises not to hurt humans, a soft robotic pillow that combats sleepless nights by "breathing" in and out as users hold it close, while BMW is working with psychologists to help robot cars befriend passengers.