A proxemics game between festival visitors and an industrial robot

by   Brigitte Krenn, et al.

With increased applications of collaborative robots (cobots) in industrial workplaces, behavioural effects of human-cobot interactions need to be further investigated. This is of particular importance as nonverbal behaviours of collaboration partners in human-robot teams significantly influence the experience of the human interaction partners and the success of the collaborative task. During the Ars Electronica 2020 Festival for Art, Technology and Society (Linz, Austria), we invited visitors to exploratively interact with an industrial robot, exhibiting restricted interaction capabilities: extending and retracting its arm, depending on the movements of the volunteer. The movements of the arm were pre-programmed and telecontrolled for safety reasons (which was not obvious to the participants). We recorded video data of these interactions and investigated general nonverbal behaviours of the humans interacting with the robot, as well as nonverbal behaviours of people in the audience. Our results showed that people were more interested in exploring the robot's action and perception capabilities than just reproducing the interaction game as introduced by the instructors. We also found that the majority of participants interacting with the robot approached it up to a distance which would be perceived as threatening or intimidating, if it were a human interaction partner. Regarding bystanders, we found examples where people made movements as if trying out variants of the current participant's behaviour.


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