Washington: Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology have found that when robots move in a more human-like fashion, people find it easier to interact with them and mimic them.“It’s important to build robots that meet people’s social expectations because we think that will make it easier for people to understand how to approach them and how to interact with them,” said Andrea Thomaz.
For the study, Thomaz and student Michael Gielniak asked how easily people could recognize what a robot called Simon was doing by watching its movements.
“Robot motion is typically characterized by jerky movements, with a lot of stops and starts, unlike human movement which is more fluid and dynamic,” said Gielniak.
“We want humans to interact with robots just as they might interact with other humans, so that it’s intuitive.”
They asked humans to perform the movements they saw Simon making.
“We found that this optimization we do to create more life-like motion allows people to identify the motion more easily and mimic it more exactly,” said Thomaz.
In future work, the pair plan on looking at how to get Simon to perform the same movements in various ways.
“So, instead of having the robot move the exact same way every single time you want the robot to perform a similar action like waving, you always want to see a different wave so that people forget that this is a robot they’re interacting with,” said Gielniak.
The research was presented at the Human-Robot Interaction conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.
First Published: Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 12:17