Human-Like Gestures Enhance Robotic Communication With Humans

By R. Siva Kumar - 05 Apr '16 09:44AM

Gestures are forms of human communication, but they can help us to interact even with robots, say scientists. By teaching robots to "talk with their hands", we can improve the interface and communication between robots and humans.

Hence, some "iconic" hand gestures can really help. For instance, one gesture that seemed to convey "opening a book" is talking about reading, while another conveys emotion, such as frustration or anger. It makes the robot use "angry" hand gestures such as quicker and more-violent actions.

The scientists first took a shot of an actor reading out, and then performing specific, iconic gestures. The researchers then filmed a robot reading out the same phrases and then performing the same gestures.

The actor used a Microsoft Kinect sensor to record his gestures and movements, and then translated them to a robot. Even though the robot did not have the same hand shape or degree of movement, it could approximate the movements.

The researchers filmed and showed the clips to participants, after which the volunteers had to identify the communication patterns between the robot and the actor.

It was found that the robot as well as the human could be understood perfectly well.

Scientists hope to research more into the field, studying which gestures and motions in robots make them more comprehensible to humans, and which actions can enhance their communication. Over the years, the study is expected to yield a robot that becomes more human-like.

The findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

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