Master’s Thesis

Saulnier, P. (2011) Exploring Socially Appropriate Nonverbal Robotic Interruption. Master’s thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, January.

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Robots are becoming more common and pervasive in our everyday environments, increasing the level of interaction between robots and people. For robots to interact with people in ways that are socially appropriate, both robot and human must understand each other’s behaviours and respond accordingly. In this thesis, we address a narrowed down subset of the above goal: exploring the process of robotic interruption. Our primary contribution is the first (to the best of our knowledge) academic exploration of nonverbal interruption in human-robot interaction. We describe a methodological process for designing minimal robot behaviours for social interruption based on human-human interruption observations, then realized these behaviours on a robot via Wizard of Oz methodologies and robotic interaction implementations, and then designed an evaluation of those behaviours in a set of pilot studies and a final user study. We found that people were able to interpret robot behaviour as interruptions, and we identified the dominant cues people used to relate robotic behaviour to interruption urgency. This thesis also makes two other secondary contributions. The first is a contribution of a simple yet powerful methodology for probing interruption in HRI. We observe human behaviour in an interruption context, prototype a robot’s behaviour using the nonverbal physical behavioural cues observed in the human behaviour, and evaluate how people interpret these cues when used by a robot. The second is the first (to the best of our knowledge) research exploration of bioelectric signal interfaces in implicit human-robot interaction, where the robot is programmed to react to the person’s implicit emotional state rather than to direct control.

Bibtex entry

@MASTERSTHESIS { 2011-Saulnier.MScThesis,
AUTHOR = { Saulnier, P. },
TITLE = { Exploring Socially Appropriate Nonverbal Robotic Interruption },
SCHOOL = { Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary },
ADDRESS = { Calgary, Alberta, Canada },
YEAR = { 2011 },
MONTH = { January },