Mobile robots such as Aldebaran’s humanoid Pepper currently find their way into society. Many research projects already try to match humanoid robots with humans by letting them assist, e.g., in geriatric care or simply for purposes of keeping company or entertainment. However, many of these projects deal with acceptance issues that come with a new type of interaction between humans and robots. These issues partly originate from different types of robot locomotion, limited human-like behaviour as well as limited functionalities in general. At the same time, animal-type robots—quadrupeds such as Boston Dynamic’s WildCat—and underactuated robots are on the rise and present social scientists with new challenges such as the concept of uncanny valley. The possible positive aspects of the unusual cooperations and interactions, however, are mostly pushed into the background. This paper describes an approach of a project at a research institution in Germany that aims at developing a setting of human–robot-interaction and collaboration that engages the designated users in the whole process.
Part of the book: Becoming Human with Humanoid