Developing Social Skills

Human social interaction has many cues that could be adopted by robots to explicitly communicate with their coworkers. Consider how people monitor and calculate the speed of other cars when merging onto a highway or even how we make minute adjustments to our pace when walking into a line of pedestrians. Each driver or pedestrian speeds up or slows based on their observation of the others surrounding them. They will often exchange a gaze and nod to signal their intentions.

There are three design areas to consider when developing social cues for the HRI. Appearance can speed learning and adoption during the crucial first impression by conveying a friendly form that is suitable to the task. People feel more confident in that first impression when the robot acknowledges their proximity and responds to their movements. Body language has the potential to increase communication and create a more effective collaboration between human and robot. Essential trust is built when the robot responds in an obvious manner that the user expects. Design considerations can be categorized into the following three areas.

  • ? Physical appearance
  • ? Acknowledgement of people
  • ? Behavior and body language

Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.

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