Add personality to the list of must-have robot vacuum cleaner features. Turns out that showing some emotion makes you a better service robot, even if you're just a motorized disc that cleans floors for a living.
Researchers from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands determined the personality traits (PDF) that people want to see in a robo-vac, then figured out how to make it display those traits using motion, sound, and lights.
People successfully identified the traits in a video of a fake robo-vac (a remote control box on wheels) going through the motions (see the video below).
People readily anthropomorphize objects, and Robo-vac makers can make their products more predictable by deliberately pulling our strings, according to the researchers, adding that if we know what our little helpers are doing and how they're likely to react, we're more satisfied.… Read more