The Answer Is Blowing in the Wind: Directed Air Flow for Socially-acceptable Human-Robot Interaction

Vincent Zhang, Natalie Friedman, Natalie Friedman, David Goedicke, David Goedicke, Dmitriy Rivkin, Michael Jenkin, Michael Jenkin, Xue Liu, Xue Liu, Gregory Dudek, Gregory Dudek

Abstract

A key problem for a robot moving within a social environment is the need to capture the attention of other people using the space. In most use cases, this capture of attention needs to be accomplished in a socially acceptable manner without loud noises or physical contact. Although there are many communication mechanisms that might be used to signal the need for a person’s attention, one particular modality that has received little interest from the robotics community is the use of controlled air as a haptic signal. Recent work has demonstrated that controlled air can provide a useful signal in the social robot domain, but what is the best mechanism to provide this signal? Here, we evaluate a number of different mechanisms that can provide this attention-seeking communication. We demonstrate that many different simple haptic air delivery systems can be effective and show that air on and air off haptic events have very similar time courses using these delivery systems.

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