That Certain Look: Social Amplification of Animate Vision

Cynthia Breazeal and Paul Fitzpatrick

Animate vision control for a social robot poses challenges beyond issues of stability and accuracy, as well as advantages beyond computational efficiency and perceptual robustness (Ballard 1989). We have found that the human-like eye movements of a robot have high communicative value to the humans that interact with it. This can be a powerful resource for facilitating natural interactions between robot and human. If properly designed, the robot’s visual behaviors can be matched to human expectations and allow both robot and human to participate in natural and intuitive social interactions. This paper describes a variety of ways we are exploring and exploiting the communicative value of robotic gaze, in concert with facial display and body posture, to improve the quality of interaction between robot and human.

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