The Robots Anthropomorphic Design

Robots are becoming available in a wide variety of roles. A recent report by the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the International Federation of Robotics predicts that 4.1 millions robots will be working in homes by the end of 2007. The implication is that as they roll, crawl and walk out of the laboratory and into the real world, that people in the real world will be using them – soldiers, families, nurses, and teachers. These users will more than likely not have a background in engineering nor care about the intricacies of the control algorithms in their robot. To them it will be tools in the same way as a PC or DVD player.

However robots differ from most consumers electronic significantly in two respects: first, robots are often designed to use human communication modalities, for example hearing and speech in place of LED displays and buttons. This is sometimes because these modalities are implied by the robots anthropomorphic design and sometimes for practical reasons, robots are usually mobile and even a remote control may be use in limited practical. Secondly, due to their embodiment, robots have the capability to supply rich feedback in many forms: anthropomorphic ones such as gestures, speech and body language and artificial ones such as music and lights.

Current consumer robots such as the Sony AIBO use a combine of both respects. Using real time communication a robot can engage the user in active social interaction and importantly even instigate interaction. Most consumer electronics are passive, there is interaction when instigated by a human, and that interaction is largely in one direction from the human to the machine.

The study of people expectations of a robot companion indicated that a large proportion of the participants in the test were in favour of robot companion, especially one of that could communicate like a humans. Humanlike appearance and behavior were less important.

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