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Blossom is supposed to be a family-friendly robot. Its soft, knitted outside and wooden ears are supposed to make kids feel comfortable. Blossom is synonymous with flowers, which are beautiful, but I don’t think Blossom is beautiful.

Researchers at Cornell and Google Zoo’s creative technology team designed Blossom to “reject almost all of [the] common wisdom of domestic robot design,” including “white shiny plastic with metal or black accents, glass screens and smooth, rounded lines and edges.” Unfortunately, this Blossom robot looks trapped inside a straitjacket or just stuck inside its own body. I keep thinking of Coraline, if it had starred a connected robot instead of a possessed doll. Guy Hoffman, who runs a lab at Cornell,…

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