Hey, robot! An investigation of getting robot's attention through touch

by   Hagen Lehmann, et al.

Touch is a key part of interaction and communication between humans, but has still been little explored in human-robot interaction. In this work, participants were asked to approach and touch a humanoid robot on the hand (Nao – 26 participants; Pepper – 28 participants) to get its attention. We designed reaction behaviors for the robot that consisted in four different combinations of arm movements with the touched hand moving forward or back and the other hand moving forward or staying in place, with simultaneous leaning back, followed by looking at the participant. We studied which reaction of the robot people found the most appropriate and what was the reason for their choice. For both robots, the preferred reaction of the robot hand being touched was moving back. For the other hand, no movement at all was rated most natural for the Pepper, while it was movement forward for the Nao. A correlation between the anxiety subscale of the participants' personality traits and the passive to active/aggressive nature of the robot reactions was found. Most participants noticed the leaning back and rated it positively. Looking at the participant was commented on positively by some participants in unstructured comments. We also analyzed where and how participants spontaneously touched the robot on the hand. In summary, the touch reaction behaviors designed here are good candidates to be deployed more generally in social robots, possibly including incidental touch in crowded environments. The robot size constitutes one important factor shaping how the robot reaction is perceived.


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