The Role of Proxemics, Autonomy, and Embodiment in Assistive HRI

April 3, 2024
12:00pm EST
Cummings 435
Speaker: Mavis Murdock - Quals talk
Host: Elaine Short


Quals talk:

Despite technological advancements, there remains a gap between the availability of assistive robots and their use by their intended audience. This is influenced by various design factors and interaction patterns which alter users’ perceptions of these robots. We examine users’ experiences during an interaction with an assistive robot arm, with particular focus on the application of our work to individuals with mobility impairments. To this end, we study the effects of a robot’s embodiment (whether the arm is attached to a social robot or a table), its proximity to the user (either 0.3 or 1.3 meters away), and the robot’s degree of autonomy (teleoperated, shared control, or fully autonomous). We examine the influences of these factors on the user’s perception of the robot’s anthropomorphism, their sense of ownership over it, and their acceptance of the robot. In order to contextualize this quantitative data, we interview individuals with upper body motor impairments who could benefit from the use of a robot arm to learn about their lived experiences. Drawing from both of these data sources, we aim to facilitate more effective, comfortable interactions that encourage better collaborations between robots and disabled users.