We Prefer Robots, That Wag Their Tails

Humans like looking at each other’s faces. If we want to figure out if someone’s happy or sad we get our clues from the face. Robot researchers tell us that robots, are different.

Canadian student Ashish Singh and professor James E. Young have looked at whether humans can accurately figure out the “feelings” of a robot vacuum cleaner. They took a standard iRobot Roomba, the best known brand of home vacuum robot and gave it a fluffy tail that wags – just like a dog.

We’re pretty sure that iRobot vacuums don’t have feelings but Singh’s research shows that once we see the robots wagging their tails, in a happy family-pet way we understand that they’re working as planned.

The Manitoba University student says that a dog-like tail “seemed to be a nice, clear choice—even people without dogs or cats may be able to read some tail motions, so we decided to formally investigate that.”

Professor Young compared the idea of looking at a screen to find out how the robot’s operating versus seeing a familiar visual signal, like the tail wagging, “With a dog tail that projects a robot’s state, you could be preparing dinner and just see the robot going by from the corner of your eye,” he said. “That would let you quickly know how the robot is doing, whereas a screen would probably require training to understand and sound would be intrusive.”

2013-DogTail-LidRemoved

It turns out, according to the team’s research, that whether we own pets or not, we can all identify whether a robot is happy or not, just by how it wags its tail. Professor Young’s team went on to look at how we would feel about the next generation of robots, humanoids if they had tails. It turns out that we may not want our robots to be that human, after all.

Total
0
Shares
Related Posts
Read More

Does Blackberry’s open letter have a return address?

Tomorrow, Blackberry will release a letter to media outletss worldwide. When I got news of this tonight, I stumbled mentally for a moment. I thought it reminiscent of the "There is life after Apple" Chiat/Day letter from Steve Jobs in the Wall Street Journal 25 years ago. For a minute I allowed techno-romance to gnaw at me, but only for a minute. Tomorrow's open missal from Blackberry reminds me more of a fake letter that appeared in Chinese newspaper, The Southern Metropolis Daily a couple of months ago, and then found it's way around China via the micro-blogging Weibo.
Read More

Mavshack VOD teams up with myPhone in Philippines

Mavshack.com, the video on-demand streaming company has agreed a partnership with MyPhone, the leading distributor of phones in the Philippines. Mavshack is a leader  in streaming local content to global populations and Mavshack Philippines is the first of several content channels being delivered worldwide.  Mavshack operate a multi-platform service similar to Netflix in the Philippines, costing around 210 Philippine Pesos, the equivalent of five dollars per month.
Read More

NASA Game Changing 3D Printing success really matters

Last night I tweeted a link to the Press Release from NASA regarding their success with  testing a rocket engine injector made through additive manufacturing, or as we say these days,  3D printing. What surprised me was the reaction I got via re-Tweets, messages and people just saying 'wow!'. I think what caught people's attention was the potential highlighted by the success in NASA's test, the potential for manufacturing and for business.
Read More

Social Media: quality always tops quantity

In recent years I have had the privilege to speak at a number of different events on Social Media. Typically the area of greatest interest has always been Facebook. The same question always pops up during the Q&A part - “I don’t have a budget for Facebook, how do I get to 100,000 fans?” To be fair, there is not one answer to this question for every industry but I will try to give you an answer that should set you on the right path.
newsletter-subscription

Subscribe for the free weekly newsletter with the latest reviews and any current offers.