"Interacting with a Social Robot Affects Visual Perception of Space", the paper presented at HRI 2020 International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, has been awarded with a Honorable Mention

 Human partners are very effective at coordinating in space and time. Such ability is particular remarkable considering that visual perception of space is a complex inferential process, which is affected by individual prior experience (e.g. the history of previous stimuli). As a result, two partners might perceive differently the same stimulus. Yet, they find a way to align their perception, as demonstrated by the high degree of coordination observed in sports or even in everyday gestures as shaking hands. Robots would need a similar ability to align with their partner's perception. However, to date there is no knowledge of how the inferential mechanism supporting visual perception operates during social interaction. In the current work, we use a humanoid robot to address this question. We replicate a standard protocol for the quantification of perceptual inference in a HRI setting. Participants estimated the length of a set of segments presented by the humanoid robot iCub. The robot behaved in one condition as a mechanical arm driven by a computer and in another condition as an interactive, social partner. Even if the stimuli presented were the same in the two conditions, length perception was different when the robot was judged as an interactive agent rather than a mechanical tool. When playing with the social robot, participants relied significantly less on stimulus history. This result suggests that the brain changes optimization strategies during interaction and lay the foundations to design humanaware robot visual perception.

Publications

2021

2020

2019

Talks

Currently the ideas behind the project have been presented in the following talks:

  • Keynote at the AIR project kick-out meeting - Skӧvde, Sweden, 19-20 March 2019. Title: “Robot & Humans: from mutual understanding to interaction and trust

  • Keynote at the Cognitive Science Arena 2019 - Bressanone, Italy, 15-16 February 2019. Title: “Future challenges in cognitive science: The new frontier of human robot interaction

  • Invited talk at The 1st International Symposium on Symbiotic Intelligent Ststems (SISReC) - Osaka, Japan, 25 January 2019. Title:"Intutitive understanding between humans and robots".

  • Invited talk at the series of events "Disegni, Invenzioni e Macchine"  ("Drawings, Inventions and Machines") at Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, Italy, 16th January 2019. Title: "Robots that help humans...to understand themselves" (Robot che aiutano… a comprendere l'uomo, in Italian).

  • Presentation "wHiSPER - Investigating Human Shared Perception with Robots" to the ISCIT (Istituto Superiore di Studi in Tecnologie dell'Informazione e della Comunicazione) students, Genoa, Italy, December 7, 2018.

  • Invited talk at the Festival Dell’Eccellenza al Femminile – Genoa, Italy, 20 November 2018. Title: “Communication in the robot era” (“Comunicazione al tempo dei robot”, in Italian).

  • Invited talk at the SICSA Workshop on Cyber Physical Systems – Edinburgh, UK, 16 November 2018. Title: “Mutual understanding for better human-robot interaction”.

  • Keynote at the World Usability Day – Turin, Italy, 8 November 2018. Title: “More Humane Robots” (“Robot piu’ umani”, in Italian).

  • Invited Talk at Skövde University, Skövde, Sweden - October 23, 2018. Title: “Action and Perception in HRI”.

  • Keynote at the workshop BODIS: The utility of body, interaction and self learning at IROS 2018 - Madrid, Spain, October 2018.

ERC Starting Grant
Principal Investigator: Alessandra Sciutti
Period: 3/2019- 2/2024. G.A: 804388

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