Texture and Opinions (12-03-21)

The way a robot feels influences opinions about it.  Researchers lead by Umeda have found that “Body texture, such as softness or elasticity, is an important consideration in the design of robots meant for interactive functions. . . .  researchers asked adult participants to view, touch, and evaluate six different inactive robots that were humanoid to varying degrees. The participants were asked to touch the arm of the robots. For each robot, four fake arms had been constructed; these were made of silicone rubber and prepared in such a way that their elasticity varied, thus providing differing touch sensations. ‘The results confirmed our expectations,’ explains Hisashi Ishihara, senior author. ‘We found that the impressions of the personalities of the robots varied according to the texture of the robot arms.’”  This study is published in Advanced Robotics.

“’My Robot Is a Softie’:  Physical Texture Influences Judgments of Robot Personality.”  2021.  Press release, Osaka University, https://resou.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/research/2021/20211202_1