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Human-like robots closer to reality

Human-like robots closer to reality

The paper based on the work was declared the best paper at this year's International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction held in in Bielefeld, Germany.

The simple task of handing an object to a person and getting this done between a robot and a human is important. To study the interaction, researchers at the University of British Columbia are researching on a human-friendly robot named Charlie.

AJung Moon, a PhD student in the university's department of mechanical engineering, and her colleagues studied what people do with their heads, necks and eyes when they hand water bottles to one another. They then tested three variations of this interaction with Charlie and the 102 study participants.

While past research indicated that people have difficulty figuring out when to reach out and take an object from a robot because robots fail to provide appropriate nonverbal cues, programming the robot to use eye gaze as a nonverbal cue made the handover more fluid.

Researchers programmed Charlie to move its head to look at the area where it would hand over the water bottle or to look to the handover location and then up at the person to make eye contact and found that the interaction became more easily manageable.