Saturday, March 20, 2010

MeBot, MIT’s Expressive Telepresence Robot

It’s described as a “semi-autonomous robotic avatar” by its creators at MIT, which sums it up nicely. The MeBot is all about giving people a face and an expressive presence even when they are far away. The MeBot show’s the operator’s face on the screen and goes the extra distance by using software that will analyze the controller’s face and cause the MeBot to respond appropriately with its arms and articulated neck.

Apparently MeBot can also be operated using a control that resembles the it’s arms. The end result is an amazingly expressive telepresence bot.

We conducted an experiment that evaluated how people perceived a robot-mediated operator differently when they used a static telerobot versus a physically embodied and expressive telerobot. Results showed that people felt more psychologically involved and more engaged in the interaction with their remote partners when they were embodied in a socially expressive way. People also reported much higher levels of cooperation both on their own part and their partners as well as a higher score for enjoyment in the interaction.

Check out a video below

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