Human-Robot Interactions in the Kitchen with Snackbot

This robot goes sort of more in the direction of psychology and human-robot interactions. Snackbot here has been around but recently it has been showing some interesting science of interaction.

Snackbot has actually existed for quite a few years; it was created by students, faculty, and office workers at Carnegie Mellon University. Basically, the Snackbot exists to deliver snacks on a routine path, rather than having someone do it. I know, revolutionary.

More importantly, though, the Snackbot was recently used as an example for human-robot interactions and what makes people seem more likable and less dominating.

This study sort of started with the simple thought of baking cupcakes. Few would realize that in the third-person point of view such a short-term activity tells people all sorts of things about what kind of person you are. Of course, Snackbot wasn’t designed to bake cupcakes, and for his turn on the stage, he dealt with the job of delivering tasty delights to people.

This study was headed by social psychologist Sara Kiesler, and her assistant Min Kyung Lee was the student that worked with Snackbot. In half the encounters, Snackbot added variety to conversations by referring to previous instances in a personal way, building up a shared social history.

Out of those people, three-fourths stated that they were pleased with the “pseudosocial” interactions (that they imitated real social interactions), and they corroborated many other studies that have shown that people often grow bored with robots that are especially repetitive.

So there. Our future robots will be more entertaining and personal! How nice.

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