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Human-Robot Interactions: Social Micro-Abilities to Establish and Manage Social Exchange

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Technical Report,30 Sep 2014,29 Sep 2017

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This project studied social abilities for establishing and managing social exchange in the 100-200 millisecond timescale, which we call social moments. These very fast micro-abilities underpin effective fluent interactions between human teams and are conjectured to be necessary for effective robot-human teams when fast interaction in close proximity is required. The first year of the project involved the development of a tele-robot system using small mobile robots and the design of cooperative and competitive team tasks that require social micro-abilities to establish and manage social exchange. The robots were designed to isolate the possible movements for conveying spatial intentions and awareness by constraining communication abilities to motion alone. The second year of the project involved the design of a set of robot micro-abilities to enable a robot to first interpret the motion of other vehicles during these tasks and then to intentionally convey its own state using the knowledge it gained. Empirical studies were designed to examine robot-robot, human-robot and human-human interaction. Together, this suite of experiments provides a methodology for practical study of the efficacy of different robot micro-abilities for signaling state and intentions. Ethical clearance was received later than anticipated in the project, and the third year of the project focused on conducting empirical studies to test human-human interactions though the tele-operated robots. These studies are the first to use human social microabilities as a model for robot micro-behaviors, to design empirical studies to systematically study social moments and their relevance to human-robot teams, and to develop principles and algorithms for social micro-abilities that enable robots to engage in effective social interactions.

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  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

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