How do People Want to Talk to a Robot?

Maria Ralph and Medhat A. Moussa from the the University of Guelph in Ontario made a study about "Talking to Robots". They wanted participants, that they should begin to talk to a robot-arm in order to let the robots collect things that are normally around in the household like spoons and keys.

The individuals were given a list of a handful of simple phrases that they could use to verbally operate the robot, and they were also permitted and encouraged to develop new phrases that they thought might help the robot perform its task.

Instead of using speech recognition software, the researchers trained human operators to translate the participants' words into movements via a graphical user interface. When participants made up new commands, the operator prompted them to define these new commands with a series of simple commands from the list.

The researchers figured out that the participants tend to use simple phrases more than complex ones. The teaching progress of the human - robot interaction was similar to the teaching progress of small children.

People also tended to humanize their language compared with the simple commands. For example, simple commands such as "move left" became "move closer to me" or "move this way."

The participants also tended to encourage the robot when it was doing well, providing feedback much like humans give to children. For instance, they used phrases such as "you're almost there" and "you've got it" for correct motions, "that's it" for successful moves, and "that's wrong" for incorrect moves. When using the same commands in sequence, sometimes people left out the actual commands, and replaced them with words such as "again" or "keep going."

It is also noted, that each participant developed an unique language to talk to the robot. The design of a robot to understand humans should take this into consideration.


Tags: speech, living-with-robots, interaction, theory
Apr_02:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

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