Human-Robot Interaction Studies

As the robot field grows, there seems to be some research projects which focuses on human-robots interaction (we already saw some examples with autists and robots). For instance, at the University of Hertfordshire, scholars are studying how robots could be social companions. There will be a BBC show about it:

The University of Hertfordshire has taken the robot out of the laboratory and has it living in a house nearby as part of a study of human-robot interaction.

The study, which will be broadcast on the BBC Three Counties’ John Pilgrim Show, on Wednesday 25 January as part of a two-hour feature on the University, aims to research how humans can comfortably interact with robots.

John Pilgrim how computer scientists and psychologists are working to understand how groups of individuals would like robots to look and behave, whether they need to be humanoid or just a computer on wheels, and the level of closeness and eye contact they would like if they had a robot living with them. (...) “We are studying how a robot companion can be personalized and modified according to people’s different preferences, likes and dislikes.”

More about it here.

Also check this conference which is organized next month about this very topic. There seems to be room for investigating 'user experience' of robots, with respects to specific topics. For instance in this paper: Empirical Results from Using a Comfort Level Device in Human-Robot Interaction Studies (by K.L. Koay, K. Dautenhahn, S.N. Woods and M.L. Walters from the University of Hertfordshire), the authors used a quantitative analysis to analyse the comfort level data of 7 subjects with respect to 12 robot behaviours as part of a human-robot interaction trial.

On a different note, I like when the first reference of such academic paper is a sci-fi novel: Asimov, I. I, Robot, Grafton Books, London, 1968.