Social intelligence for robots

March 9, 2011
Simon Robot

Simon the robot (photo: Georgia Tech)

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found that they can program a robot to understand when it gains a human’s attention and when it falls short.

With close to 80 percent accuracy, the socially expressive Simon robot was able to tell, using only his cameras as a guide, whether someone was paying attention to him or ignoring him.

“We would like to bring robots into the human world. That means they have to engage with human beings, and human beings have an expectation of being engaged in a way similar to the way other human beings would engage with them,” said Aaron Bobick, professor and chair of the School of Interactive Computing in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing.

The researchers plan to study whether the robot can tell by a person’s gaze whether they are paying attention, or using elements of language or other actions.

The research was presented March 8 at the Human-Robot Interaction conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Adapted from materials provided by Georgia Tech