Wrangling MiRo

Getting his attention

The basic way to wrangle a MiRo is to make sounds (clap your hands) or move around (wave your hands, or bounce a football in front of him). MiRo will attend to these stimuli by turning his head and, if required, his body.

If he does not seem to be paying attention to you, look where he is looking, and consider what he might be seeing that is more exciting. If the environment you are in is very busy, you might want to disable one or other source of salience using the demo flags (for instance, we often set the flag "Disable attend sounds" in noisy environments for this reason).

Getting him to approach

If a stimulus stays in much the same place for a little while, and MiRo is in a fair mood, he will approach the stimulus. In this way, you can get MiRo to come to you, and even follow you around, by waving something to get his attention, and by calling him over to you.

However, MiRo—like any animal—is easily spooked. If you get in his face, he may look elsewhere for a calmer situation (unless he's really on a high, in which case he may just choose to engage). You may need to learn to embrace unpredictability: remember you are dealing with an animal-like robot and that comes with challenges.

Most important is mood—if MiRo is unhappy, he'll find pretty much any stimulus too challenging, and run away from things rather than approaching them. Therefore, to encourage your MiRo to approach, you should start by lifting his mood.

Shifting mood

Immediately after starting the demo, MiRo is in a neutral mood. His lights will pulse white, and he will be vocalising pleasantly. In this neutral mood he may choose to approach if a stimulus is strong enough, but he may equally choose to stay exactly where he is.

If MiRo is in a particularly good mood, his lights will be pulsing green, and he will be driven to approach stimuli that he notices. In a particularly bad mood, MiRo's lights will pulse red, and he will tend to run away from things rather than approach them. The character of MiRo's vocalisations will also vary with his mood. Meanwhile, MiRo's breathing rate—and, hence, vocalisation frequency—will vary with his arousal; in a very aroused state, you may even be able to hear MiRo breathing in and out in time with the pulsing of his light arrays.

Various things will affect MiRo's mood, either positively or negatively. These include the time of day, being kept awake, being touched, being hit, being picked up, exciting—or unpleasant—sounds. You will have to try things out, but a quick fix for his mood that always works is to stroke the top of his head—he likes that very much.

Dealing with danger

MiRo will try to avoid cliff edges, but his cliff detectors are not sophisticated enough to be right every time, so you should supervise him if he is operating near cliffs. A table-top, then, may corral MiRo, but not safely—if you want to try corralling him safely, use a white floor surface with a wide black surround, and adjust the Cliff sensor sensitivity to match the inks you have chosen.

You can adjust the Cliff sensor sensitivity using MiRoapp.
If MiRo appears to be unwilling to move forward, look at the FAQ Why does my robot just keep going round in circles?

Human interaction

MiRo is a social robot, and his mood is particularly strongly driven by human interaction. He likes any contact on the touch sensors arrayed over the top of his head, and will respond accordingly. Stroking his back is good too, but don't stroke him the wrong way—he doesn't like that at all. He doesn't mind being picked up, but will get a bit shirty (not to mention he might be damaged) if you drop him, so it's best to keep physical abuse to a minimum.

Falling asleep

After a period of activity, MiRo will become tired and fall asleep. His lights will glow orange as he snoozes, and pulse more slowly in line with his slowed breathing. Only a brief sleep is needed to refresh MiRo, and he will wake up again rather snappily when he's feeling stronger. After waking, you should find him in fairly neutral mood, having largely forgotten whatever you did to him last time he was awake.


Depending on the demonstration environment, some of MiRo's behaviour may be undesirable. This is what the Demo Flags, accessible through the MiRoapp, are for.