Is hugging a robot weird? Investigating the influence of robot appearance on users' perception of hugging

G Trovato, M Do, Ö Terlemez, C Mandery, H Ishii, N Bianchi-Berthouze, T Asfour, A Takanishi
in IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots, Conference proceeding


© 2016 IEEE.Humanoid robots are expected to be able to communicate with humans using physical interaction, including hug, which is a common gesture of affection. In order to achieve that, their physical embodiment has to be carefully planned, as a user-friendly design will facilitate interaction and minimise repulsion. In this paper, we investigate the effect of manipulating the visual/tactile appearance of a robot, covering wires and metallic parts with clothes, and the auditory effect by enabling or disabling the connector of the hand. The experiment consists in a hugging interaction between the participants and the humanoid robot ARMAR-IIIb. Results after participation of 24 subjects confirm the positive effect from using clothes to modify the appearance and the negative effect of noise and vibration.