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Anthropomorphic Language in Online Forums about Roomba, AIBO and the iPad

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Mubin, Omar; Kaplan, Frédéric; Dillenbourg, Pierre

What encourages people to refer to a robot as if it was a living being? Is it because of the robot’s humanoid or animal-like shape, its movements or rather the kind of inter- action it enables? We aim to investigate robots’ characteristics that lead people to anthropomorphize it by comparing different kinds of robotic devices and contrasting it to an interactive technology. We addressed this question by comparing anthro- pomorphic language in online forums about the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, the AIBO robotic dog, and the iPad tablet computer. A content analysis of 750 postings was carried out. We expected to find the highest amount of anthropomorphism in the AIBO forum but were not sure about how far people referred to Roomba or the iPad as a lifelike artifact. Findings suggest that people anthropomorphize their robotic dog signifi- cantly more than their Roomba or iPad, across different topics of forum posts. Further, the topic of the post had a significant impact on anthropomorphic language.

Posted on: March 15, 2012

How Children Tidy up Their Room with "Ranger" the Robotic Box

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Vaussard, Florian Christopher; Rétornaz, Philippe; Berthoud, Alain; Mondada, Francesco; Dillenbourg, Pierre

"Ranger" is a robotic box designed to motivate young children to tidy up the toys in their rom. It explores the idea of integrating robotics into daily life objects, such as a wooden box. The box shows light and sound when toys are put inside or removed. We carried out a series of field experiments (Wizard-of-Oz) with 14 families to evaluate the first prototype of Ranger. The robot was operated showing two different behaviors: an active or a passive one. We found that the robot’s behavior had an impact on how children interacted with it. The poster also describes children’s and parent’s evaluation of the robot and how the design of Ranger could be improved.

Posted on: November 5, 2012

Living With a Vacuum Cleaning Robot – A 6-month Ethnographic Study

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Bauwens, Valérie; Kaplan, Frédéric; Dillenbourg, Pierre

Little is known about the usage, adoption process and long-term effects of domestic service robots in people’s homes. We investigated the usage, acceptance and process of adoption of a vacuum cleaning robot in nine households by means of a six month ethnographic study. Our major goals were to explore how the robot was used and integrated into daily practices, whether it was adopted in a durable way, and how it impacted its environment. We studied people’s perception of the robot and how it evolved over time, kept track of daily routines, the usage patterns of cleaning tools, and social activities related to the robot. We integrated our results in an existing framework for domestic robot adoption and outlined similarities and differences to it. Finally, we identified several factors that promote or hinder the process of adopting a domestic service robot and make suggestions to further improve human-robot interactions and the design of functional home robots toward long-term acceptance.

Posted on: May 2, 2013

Motivating Children to Tidy up their Toys with a Robotic Box

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Vaussard, Florian Christopher; Rétornaz, Philippe; Berthoud, Alain; Wille, Florian; Mondada, Francesco; Dillenbourg, Pierre

The poster presents the evaluation of our prototype, called “Ranger”, which is a robotic box that aims to motivate young children to tidy up their room. The robot was tested in 14 families with 31 children (2-10 years) using the Wizard-of-Oz technique. We found that the way in which children interacted with the robotic box was impacted by how active it behaved. Significantly more toys were put in the box in the passive robot condition compared to children’s more playful and explorative behavior in the active robot condition. Our results hold important implications for the design of interactive robots for children.

Posted on: March 13, 2013

Which Robot Behavior Can Motivate Children to Tidy up Their Toys? Design and Evaluation of "Ranger"

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Lemaignan, Séverin; Dillenbourg, Pierre; Rétornaz, Philippe; Vaussard, Florian Christopher; Berthoud, Alain; Mondada, Francesco; Wille, Florian; Franinovic, Karmen

We present the design approach and evaluation of our proto- type called “Ranger”. Ranger is a robotic toy box that aims to motivate young children to tidy up their room. We evalu- ated Ranger in 14 families with 31 children (2-10 years) using the Wizard-of-Oz technique. This case study explores two different robot behaviors (proactive vs. reactive) and their impact on children’s interaction with the robot and the tidy- ing behavior. The analysis of the video recorded scenarios shows that the proactive robot tended to encourage more playful and explorative behavior in children, whereas the reactive robot triggered more tidying behavior. Our find- ings hold implications for the design of interactive robots for children, and may also serve as an example of evaluating an early version of a prototype in a real-world setting.

Posted on: December 12, 2013

Will Your Household Adopt Your New Robot?

  • Authors: Bauwens, Valérie; Fink, Julia

Domestic robots have slowly found their way into some of our homes and onto the shelves of major stores selling technical appliances. Who hasn’t already seen or heard of robots that vacuum or mow the lawn? As researchers in robotics, we feel this growing commercial success is a great opportunity to learn about robot adoption processes. Leaving the marketing buzz and usual fantasies about robot invasions aside, we are curious to find out how robots are perceived by users. Are robots revolutionizing people’s practices at home? Understanding the adoption of such robots is also central, as it helps to pinpoint crucial factors to be taken into account while designing new robots. Other questions we wish to consider include: What convinces people to adopt them? What stops people from adopting them? What features or concepts should be transferred to future robot generations? To answer these questions, we conducted an ethnographic study that analyzed how people adopted or rejected a vacuum-cleaning robot in their homes [1]. We gave a popular commercially available robot (iRobot’s Roomba) to nine households and observed them over a period of six months [2]. We recruited households with and without children, pets, and gardens. We analyzed cleaning habits before Roomba. We then observed how they evolved from the moment we brought them the robot: at installa- tion, after two weeks, and then two and four months after installation.

Posted on: March 15, 2012