JRM Vol.32 No.1 pp. 51-58
doi: 10.20965/jrm.2020.p0051


How Can Robots Make People Feel Intimacy Through Touch?

Xiqian Zheng*,**, Masahiro Shiomi*, Takashi Minato*, and Hiroshi Ishiguro*,**

*Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR)
2-2-2 Hikaridai Seika-cho, Sorakugun, Kyoto 619-0288, Japan

**Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University
1-3 Machikaneyamacho, Toyonaka, Osaka 560-0043, Japan

July 19, 2019
November 13, 2019
February 20, 2020
human-robot interaction, haptic interaction, perceived intimacy

This study investigates the effects of the touch characteristics that change the intimacy perceived by humans in human-robot touch interaction with an android robot having a human-like feminine appearance. Past studies on human-robot touch interaction focused on understanding which types of human touches are used to express emotions to robots. However, they less focused on how a robot’s touch characteristics can affect humans’ perceived intimacy. In this study, first, we concentrated on two types of touch characteristics (type and place) and their effects on the perceived intimacy of a commonly used emotion in human-robot interaction, namely happiness. The results showed that the touch types are useful for changing the perceived intimacy, although the touched place did not exhibit any significant effects. Based on the results of our first experiment, we investigated the effects of different touch characteristics (length and part). We concluded that the touch part is useful to change the perceived intimacy, although the touch length did not exhibit any significant effects. Finally, the results suggested that a pat (type) by the fingers (part) is a better combination to express intimacy with our robot.

Android ERICA touching a participant

Android ERICA touching a participant

Cite this article as:
X. Zheng, M. Shiomi, T. Minato, and H. Ishiguro, “How Can Robots Make People Feel Intimacy Through Touch?,” J. Robot. Mechatron., Vol.32 No.1, pp. 51-58, 2020.
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