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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Pursuing Personalized Robots

Until now robots have been objects with their own agency and independent embodiment from humans. However, their function and goals have been based on human desires. They accompany us, work with us as team-workers, challenge our abilities and sensation, augment our problem solving, mental and physical capabilities. However, it’s not all about agent robots in industry or manufacturing sites. The way humans relate themselves to the robots intuitively have an immersive impact on the way they approach robots and cooperate with them rather than resisting and having a defensive attitude toward robots. the word personality, that we relate to only humans, is only and only human-based phenomena. Personality makes people individuals and gives them an identity. This phenomenon gathers nations together and forms societies. We as humans, distinctly relate ourselves to anything with human features. Guy Hoffman, a researcher in HRI, went through experiments in humans and robots interaction in a physical statement. Based on these experiments, people have more tendency to work with robots that are more adventurous, with personality closer to humans than with classic robot that follows master-slave relationship. In some cases, adventurous robots made mistakes during tasks still, people preferred to collaborate with them.

Robots are everywhere today, they help humans with social disabilities to engage in social interaction. Since 1990’s these robots came into institutes, universities, and hospitals. And now, after more than a decade they are in our houses, helping us with housework, communicating with children, helping infants with social development and impacting our lives in many ways. However, when considering robots in interaction with people with social disabilities, there is always an expert or a caregiver, as an intermediator. How can people with a different perception of the world, perceive and be perceived in interaction with robots? If humans are yet incapable to quit labeling different forms of behavior and perception, how can they become an intermediator in human-robot interaction in order to facilitate social interaction?


According to all aforementioned above, I want to investigate the possibility of having personalized robots interacting with humans without any facilitators in between and the possibility of having life-long personalized robots that evolve with us, grow old with us and help us with perceiving people with the different perception. And study how robots can resemble us during lifetime, make a better version of us or to some extent, enhance our behavior. Therefore, to have a robot as a platform in human-human interaction some questions come into account:

1.What is the embodiment of this cohabitant robot? Is it a wearable sensory skin which reads human’s body information or an independent creature that interacts with you and keeps it’s own agency or does it become a space (architecture) for human inhabit in?
2.What are the features and characteristics of this robot? Is it going to be a behavioral and motion-based robot? Does it communicate with the human through verbal language or non-verbal language?
3.What is the relationship between robot and human? Is it limited to the command-response relationship? Or is it beyond the classic beliefs of robot-human interaction based on collaboration in the physical statement?

-This agent must be able to read data from the person’s body to collect information about behavior and activity pattern and emotions in various situations.
-This agent must be able to make an algorithm of the person’s behavior and emotions. Moreover, the aim is to build the person’s own behavioral language. In order to predict emotions and behavior in the future (based on Rosalind Picard research in MIT Media Lab, now we are able to store information from EDA sensors from a person and predict his emotion in the next 24 hours).
-This agent is able to communicate with its partner/cohabitant (person). It supplies his demands and augment his abilities and enhances his behavior.
-This agent must provide the possibility of being a platform between this person and the outer world. It provides the possibilities of communicating and interacting with other people without making the extra effort of translating the behavioral language.
A lifelong supporting smart automaton, which is an extension of the human body, that has its own life (actuated by information from the human body), guides human through the environment, helps human with communicating with other humans and environment.

To find answers to these inquiries in a robot, this personalized robot’s configuration should be flexible to transform from a wearable robot to an object with its own agency. Bio-sensors such as EDA, E4, SC, GSR et cetera could be inserted to measure information from skin and heartbeat to measure human emotional arousal to some extent. More than that, in order to make a pattern for behavior and emotion, it must be capable of making a data set of the information from the human body and learn from this dataset to predict behavior and guide human in the environment.


Our skin reveals an immense deal of information on how we feel when we are exposed to emotionally loaded stimuli. Whatever the emotion is (whether stressed, fearful, excited, surprised et cetera) or whenever we are emotionally aroused, the electrical conductivity of our skin changes. Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) is one of the most sensitive measures of emotional arousal. I want to study about GSR sensor, what the data exported from this sensor means and how I can use this in my design. Moreover, I want to study transformation from 2D to 3D. I will make prototypes in origami to examine how a wearable robot can be actuated and transform to a 3D smart object.



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