Touched by a robot
March 9, 2011 by Editor
Cody the robot touches and wipes a person’s forearm (Photo: Georgia Tech)
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have found that people generally have a positive response toward being touched by a robotic nurse, but that their perception of the robot’s intent makes a significant difference.
In the study, researchers looked at how people responded when a robotic nurse, known as Cody, touched and wiped a person’s forearm. Although Cody touched the subjects in exactly the same way, they reacted more positively when they believed Cody intended to clean their arm versus when they believed Cody intended to comfort them.
The team believes that future research should investigate ways to make robot touch more acceptable to people, especially in healthcare. Future healthcare tasks, such as wound dressing and assisting with hygiene, will likely require a robotic nurse to touch the patient’s body.
The research is being presented March 9 at the Human-Robot Interaction conference in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Adapted from materials provided by Georgia Tech
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