Problem Statement Edit

How can we affect a human's willingness to help a robot in distress through the robot's expression of sound?

Team Members Edit

  • Ben Berkowitz
  • Pearce Stanek-Johnson
  • Junyun Tay
  • Somchaya Liemhetcharat

Project Goal Edit

Our goal is to study the effect of sounds from a robot in distress on the behavior of a human towards it. We plan to accomplish this by developing a robot which can tip over or get stuck on command and exhibit emotions through its tone of voice and choice of words. We will then use this robot in a busy walkway and see how the robot's verbal expression affects peoples' desire to help it. From this research we hope to develop some guidelines for improving the willingness of humans to assist robots in distress, an extremely important task as the role of robots in everyday society increases.

We plan to look at the following emotions:

  • Sad that it fell
  • Fear that it will be scolded for hindrance or obstruction, or of being stepped on
  • Angry at itself for falling and becoming a hindrance

As a result of our experiments we hope to determine:

  • The effect of emotional utterances on the willingness of people to help
  • Reasons of why people help the robot
  • Compare willingness of people to help when they are busy, versus when they are free (via a quick survey done after people help the robot)

Measures of Success Edit

  • Develop the robotic system based on surveys
  • Refine our design by testing our prototypes (based on survey results) with user studies
  • Actual tests of human interaction with the robot
  • Develop guidelines based on test results

Important Deadlines Edit

The timeline for our project is available here.