Friday, November 23, 2007

Making those robots warm and fuzzy :)

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"Researchers try to make robots approachable, not creepy"
Wile E. Coyote never utters a word in his relentless pursuit of the Road Runner, but audiences around the world easily understand his frustration as his prey slips away.
A University of Calgary researcher is studying such cartoons, looking for ways to help people accept robots into their lives.
James Young, a PhD student, is working with robotic vacuum cleaners called Roombas, analyzing how giving them cartoon-like expressions changes people's reactions to the machines.
"If you look at a comic book or a cartoon, with very few lines they can show motion, they can show anger, they can show basically almost as much as what a human can show," says Young, who presented some initial research at the second Human-Robot Interaction Conference in Washington last spring.
Young uses a hand-held computer to track a Roomba's movements in a University of Calgary lab and display an cartoonish image of the vacuum cleaner. When the Roomba gets stuck, beads of sweat pop along its brow in the image, and its eyes screw tightly up as it tries to push its way out..."

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