Research Topic

Affective and Social Signals for HRI

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About this Research Topic

Designing robots with socio-emotional skills is a challenging research topic still in its infancy. These skills are important for robots to be able to provide not only physical, but also social support to human users, and to engage in and sustain long-term interactions with them in a variety of application ...

Designing robots with socio-emotional skills is a challenging research topic still in its infancy. These skills are important for robots to be able to provide not only physical, but also social support to human users, and to engage in and sustain long-term interactions with them in a variety of application domains that require human-robot interaction, including healthcare, education, entertainment, manufacturing, and many others. The availability of commercial robotic platforms and developments in collaborative academic research provide us a positive outlook, however, the capabilities of current social robots are quite limited. The main challenge is understanding the underlying mechanisms of the humans in responding to and interacting with real life situations, and how to model these mechanisms for the embodiment of naturalistic, human-inspired behaviours via robots. To address this challenge successfully requires an understanding of the essential components of social interaction including nonverbal behavioural cues such as interpersonal distance, body position, body posture, arm and hand gestures, head and facial gestures, gaze, silences, vocal outbursts and their dynamics. To create truly intelligent social robots, these nonverbal cues need to be interpreted to form an understanding of the higher level phenomena including first-impression formation, social roles, interpersonal relationships, focus of attention, synchrony, affective states, emotions, and personality, and in turn defining optimal protocols and behaviours to express these phenomena through robotic platforms in an appropriate and timely manner. Achieving this requires the fields of psychology, nonverbal behaviour, vision, social signal processing, affective computing, and HRI to constantly interact with one another. Indeed, the aim of this research topic is to foster such interactions and collaborations by bringing together the latest works and developments from across a range of research groups and disciplines working in these fields.

The topics of interest include but are not limited to:

· Psychology & Cognition of Affect and Social Signals in Designing Socially Intelligent Robots (including ethical issues, cultural/gender differences)

· Recognition, Synthesis and Adaptation of Affect and Social Signals (proxemics, gaze, head movements, facial expressions, hand gestures, body postures and gestures, speech, auditory affect bursts, behaviours captured through first-person vision, motion capture, physiology, brain waves, sentiment, etc.)

· Biologically-Inspired Architectures for Affective and Social Robotics

· Developmental and Evolutionary Models for Affective and Social Robotics

· Personality in Robotics

· Embodiment and Expressive robotics

· Personalisation

· Human-robot Interaction Design

· Memory, Reasoning, and Learning in Affective and Social Robots

· Distributed/Collaborative Social Robots

· Inclusive Robotic Platforms and Models for User Diversity (ability, language, culture, gender, age)

· Tools and Databases for Creating Affective and Social HRI

· New evaluation measures of Affective and Social HRI


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