What is it about?

We present a study where humans interact with an iCub robot in a wayfinding task to see how a robot's social signals are experienced during the entire duration of the encounter. We wanted to know how such signals can support people who are inexperienced with robots in guiding them through the interaction and make it more pleasant.

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Why is it important?

A robot's social signals are commonly believed to enhance the usability of humanoid robots by providing the robot with an extended expressibility. However, experiments are often very structured and do not include the whole experience, i.e. parts of the familiarization or farewell processes are often disregarded in the evaluation. The experiment we present tackles this problem by covering the whole situation from before the participant even sees the robot until they leave the room. We can thus observe an interrelation between subsequent interaction phases.


This article is personally very important to me as it combines a lot of my earlier work on distant and close interaction between humans and robots. It makes use of the social meaning that can be found in spatial configurations between human and robot like how far away they are from each other, whether they are approaching, or where hands are placed in a shared space on a table. It is further interesting as about 100 mostly non-experienced people and conclusions are drawn from their very first interaction with the humanoid robot iCub.

Dr Patrick Holthaus
University of Hertfordshire

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: It was a Pleasure Meeting You, International Journal of Social Robotics, February 2021, Springer Science + Business Media,
DOI: 10.1007/s12369-021-00759-9.
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