Laboratory of Informatics of Grenoble Engineering Human-Computer Interaction Research Group

Engineering Human-Computer Interaction
Research Group

Companion Robots Behaving with Style: Towards Plasticity in Social Human-Robot Interaction

pages 1-196. 2015.

Wafa Johal

(work done at Thèse dirigée par Sylvie Pesty de l'équipe MAGAM du LIG, codirigée par Gaelle Calvary)

Thèse de Doctorat en Informatique de l'Université de Grenoble


Companion robots are technologically and functionally more and more efficient as technological advancement progresses. The capacities and usefulness of companion robots is nowadays a reality. These robots that are now more efficient, are however not accepted yet in home environments as the worth having such robots and companionship hasn’t been established. Classically, social robots were displaying generic social behaviours and not taking into account inter-individual differences. More and more work in Human-Robot Interaction goes towards the personalisation of the companion. Personalisation and control of the companion could lead to better understanding of the robot’s behaviour. Proposing several ways of expression for companion robots playing roles would allow user to customize their companion to their social preferences.
In this work, we propose a plasticity framework for Human-Robot Interaction. We used a Scenario-Based Design method to elicit social roles for companion robots. Then, based on the literature in several disciplines, we propose to depict variations of behaviour of the companion robot with behavioural styles. Behavioural styles are defined according to the social role with non-verbal expressive parameters. The expressive parameters (static, dynamic and decorators) allow to transform neutral motions into styled motions. We conducted a perceptual study through a video-based survey showing two robots displaying different styles allowing us to evaluate the expressibility of two parenting behavioural styles by two kinds of robots. We found that participants were indeed able to discriminate between the styles in terms of dominance and authoritativeness, which is in line with the psychological theory on styles in general. Most importantly, we found that the styles preferred by their parents for their children were not correlated to their own parental practice. Consequently, behavioral styles are relevant cues for social personalisation of the companion robot by parents.
A second experimental study in a natural environment involving child-robot interaction with 16 children showed that parents and children were expected a versatile robot able to play several social role. This study also showed that behavioural styles had an influence on the child’s bodily attitudes during the interaction. Common dimensions studied in non-verbal communication allowed us to develop measures for child-robot interaction based on data captured with a Kinect2 sensor.
In this thesis, we also propose a modularisation of a previously proposed affective and cognitive architecture resulting in the new Cognitive, Affective Interaction Oriented (CAIO) architecture. This architecture has been implemented on the ROS framework, allowing it to be used on social robots. We also proposed instantiations of the Stimulus Evaluation Checks of [Scherer, 2009] for two robotic platforms allowing dynamic expression of emotions. Both behavioural style frameworks and the CAIO architecture can be useful in socialisation
of the companion robots and improving their acceptability.