Bachelor final project: socially interactive robots : an experiment on the assistive context
Rosa, Gilvan Gomes da
Webber, Carine Geltrudes
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The Socially Assistive Robotics (SAR) field studies how robots can help humans through social rather than physical interaction. It may seem contrary to common sense expectation that physical robots can be used for social assistance, as one could just use software agents or other devices in order to do that. Researchers point out, however, that humans tend to attribute lifelike characteristics to robots and to socially engage with them, as they are embodied agents that have enough biological-like motion or appearance aspects. In this case, people commonly engage with physical machines, projecting intentions, goals, and emotions to them. In this study we have investigated, through a short-term experiment, blind persons perceptions of a physically collocated robot compared to a regular computer in regard to functional and social aspects. Results show that, in general, participants preferred to interact with the robot, demonstrating interest and being more engaged. In addition, our findings suggest that the physical embodiment evokes a positive attitude from the blind persons towards the robot, even when the physical capabilities of the robot are not explored (sic).