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Über dieses Buch

This LNAI 9549 constitutes the refereed proceedings of the First International Workshop in Cultural Robotics 2015, held as part of the 24th International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication held in Kobe, Japan, in August/September 2015.

A total of 12 full papers and 1 short paper were accepted from a total of 26 initially submitted.

The following papers are organized into four categories. These categories are indicative of the extent to which culture has influenced the design or application of the robots involved, and explore a progression in the emersion and overlap between human and robotic generated culture.





Cultural Robotics: Robots as Participants and Creators of Culture

This introductory chapter reviews the emergence, classification, and contemporary examples of cultural robots: social robots that are shaped by, producers of, or participants in culture. We review the emergence of social robotics as a field, and then track early references to the terminology and key lines of inquiry of Cultural Robotics. Four categories of the integration of culture with robotics are outlined; and the content of the contributing chapters following this introductory chapter are summarised within these categories.
Belinda J. Dunstan, David Silvera-Tawil, Jeffrey T. K. V. Koh, Mari Velonaki

Culture Affecting the Design, Application and Evaluation of Robots


Cultural Difference in Back-Imitation’s Effect on the Perception of Robot’s Imitative Performance

Cultural differences have been documented in different aspects of perception of robots as well as understanding of their behavior. A different line of research in developmental psychology has established a major role for imitation in skill transfer and emergence of culture. This study is a preliminary cross–cultural exploration of the effect of imitating the robot (back imitation) on human’s perception of robot’s imitative skill. In previous research, we have shown that engagement in back imitation with a NAO humanoid robot, results in increased perception of robot’s imitative skill, human–likeness of motion, and willingness of future interaction with the robot. This previous work mostly used Japanese university students. In this paper, we report the results of conducting the same study with subjects of two cultures: Japanese and Egyptian university students. The first finding of the study is that the two cultures have widely different expectations of the robot and interaction with it and that some of these differences are significantly reduced after the interaction. The second finding is that Japanese students tended to attribute higher imitation skill and human likeness to the robot they imitated while Egyptian students did not show such tendency. The paper discusses these findings in light of known differences between the two cultures and analyzes the role of expectation in the differences found.
Yasser Mohammad, Toyoaki Nishida

Designing the Appearance of a Telepresence Robot, M4K: A Case Study

This paper presents the process for designing a telepresence robot (TPR) – M4K (Mobile 4-Dimensional Communication Kiosk), which offers more extensive interaction between users than other existing TPRs. The TPR is a robotic movable platform which helps people communicate across distances, and it is sometimes required to have the ability of ‘tele-manipulation’, which exceeds the current capacity of pure ‘telecommunication’ [13]. Of note, our M4K has an interactive 3D beam projector and cameras in addition to the basic TPR platform. The design process to give the M4K an acceptable form to users is presented. Following illustrating the design process, limitations and future works are discussed. The design process progresses from related research, ideal version design, to manufactured version design. This project is ongoing and at an estimated midway point of the whole development cycle, so it is also treated partly as an experiment. This study will be used to support the next phase of design and technical development.
Hyelip Lee, Yeon-Ho Kim, Kwang-ku Lee, Dae-Keun Yoon, Bum-Jae You

The Positive Effect of Negative Feedback in HRI Using a Facial Expression Robot

This research explores the use of facial expressions in robots and their effect in collaborative tasks between humans and robots. The positive effect is determined during a task in human - robot collaboration, derived from a negative facial expression issued as feedback by the robot (sad face) when a failure in the execution of the task occurs. This study analyzes whether or not human intervention exists on the initial presence of an unexpected failure, the response time of the intervention and the accuracy of the task. A comparison with a neutral facial expression is also performed.
Mauricio Reyes, Ivan Meza, Luis A. Pineda

Introducing a Methodological Approach to Evaluate HRI from a Genuine Sociological Point of View

The evaluation of human-robot interaction (HRI) is still a major methodological challenge. Despite the interdisciplinary nature of the field, sociologically inspired contributions are still rare. This paper aims to introduce a theory-driven method according to a sociological interaction concept to evaluate HRI and identify aspects of successful and satisfying interaction experiences. It combines Harold Garfinkel’s breaching experiments with a frame analysis inspired by Erving Goffman. Sociologically, the method relies on a definition of social interaction based on the symbolic interactionism paradigm.
Diego Compagna, Manuela Marquardt, Ivo Boblan

Robots as Participants in Culture


Head Orientation Behavior of Users and Durations in Playful Open-Ended Interactions with an Android Robot

This paper presents the results of a field-experiment focused on the head orientation behavior of users in short-term dyadic interactions with an android (male) robot in a playful context, as well as on the duration of the interactions. The robotic trials took place in an art exhibition where participants approached the robot either in groups, or alone, and were let free to either engage, or not in conversation. Our initial hypothesis that participants in groups would show increased rates of head turning behavior-since the turn-taking activity would include more participants-in contrast to those who came alone was not confirmed. Analysis of the results indicated that, on the one hand, gender did not play any significant role in head orientation, a behavior connected tightly to attention direction, and on the other hand, female participants have spent significantly more time with the robot than male participants. The findings suggest that androids have the ability to maintain the focus of attention during short-term interactions within a playful context, and that robots can be sufficiently studied in art settings. This study provides an insight on how users communicate with an android robot, and on how to design meaningful human robot social interaction for real life situations.
Evgenios Vlachos, Elizabeth Jochum, Henrik Schärfe

Towards the Design of Robots Inspired in Ancient Cultures as Educational Tools

The use of robots as educational tools has demonstrated to be highly effective for attracting students to science and technology related academic fields. Although these academic fields are very important, we believe that other subjects such as language, music, arts, literature, history, etc., are also essential for future generations. For this reason, the goal of this research is to explore the potential use of robots as educational tools for non-technology related fields such as history. We discuss an alternative approach for designing robots inspired in traits and characteristics of historical figures that play an important role in the topic to be studied. We provide several examples of conceptual designs of robots inspired in ancient gods or historical characters of Mesoamerican and South American cultures. We discuss how some of the traits of ancient gods and characters could serve as inspiration for the appearance design of commercial robots, and how these robots could be used in educational environments to attract the attention of students to learn about this history topic.
Christian Penaloza, Cesar Lucho, Francisco Cuellar

Towards Socializing Non-anthropomorphic Robots by Harnessing Dancers’ Kinesthetic Awareness

This paper discusses a novel approach towards socializing non-anthropomorphic robots, which harnesses the expert knowledge of dancers to develop abstract robot morphologies and their capacity to move in affective and expressive ways. We argue that movement offers a key to socializing non-anthropomorphic robots. Our Performative Body Mapping (PBM) method investigates the possibility of using human movement experts to teach non-humanlike robots to move and interact. The paper outlines the conceptual framework of PBM and discusses an ongoing pilot study that engages professional dancers to study the relationship between abstract, simple morphologies and their potential to move in expressive, socially encoded ways.
Petra Gemeinboeck, Rob Saunders

Robots and the Moving Camera in Cinema, Television and Digital Media

The moving camera is a ubiquitous element in visual culture, and one that is undergoing significant change. Camera movement has traditionally been bound to the capabilities of human bodies and their physical equipment. Computer-based and robotic systems are enabling changes in image genres, extending the fields of perception for viewers. Motion control systems provide much tighter control over the movement of the camera in space and time. On television, wire-suspended cameras such as Skycam and Spidercam provide aerial perspectives above sports fields and music venues. Drones bring to the image a fusion of intimacy and magical elevation. An emerging domain of vision systems is in robotics and surveillance systems that remove the human operator entirely from the production and interpretation of images. In each of these cases, the question of the subjectivity and objectivity of images is complicated.
Chris Chesher

Robot-Supported Food Experiences

Exploring Aesthetic Plating with Design Prototypes
Robots are increasingly taking up roles in society to support and interact with humans in various contexts including the home, health-care, production and assembly lines, among others. Much of the research focuses on efficiency, speed, accuracy of repetitive tasks, and in most cases the robot simply replaces and performs work tasks originally performed by humans. Looking beyond the simple replacement of humans with robotic servants, we focus on increasing creativity and pleasurable experiences supported by robots for the preparation, serving and consumption of food. This is a culturally rich area to design for, which is steeped in tradition, social norms and expectations. How can robots play a role in this context? We observed and interviewed chefs to gain a sense for opportunities for robotic technologies. We then created nine exploratory video prototypes involving food preparation with a robotic arm taking departure in themes of haute cuisine, “plating”, and the arts in order to show some of the capabilities of robots and to spark their imagination for possible future uses of robots in the kitchen. Through questionnaires and interviews, we gained feedback from ten chefs with resulting themes including harsh criticism and resistance to robots as well as desire and interest for robots to support food experiences as a partner in the restaurant. We discuss emergent themes from the feedback and provide discussion on future work needed to explore robots as partners in creative contexts.
Christian Østergaard Laursen, Søren Pedersen, Timothy Merritt, Ole Caprani

Robots as Producers of Culture: Material and Non-material


‘Face Robots’ Onscreen: Comfortable and Alive

This chapter draws upon the author’s experimental video artwork Comfortable and Alive, made with the Japanese gynoid robot Geminoid-F by ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories, to facilitate a wider, yet fractional, discussion of the cultural provenance and potential integration of specifically female-appearing android robots (gynoids). The “display architecture” of the gynoid can be viewed as an aesthetic emulation by robot designers of the centuries-old characterization of girls and women as naïve, pretty, submissive and soothing; this construction also pervades televised and other media. At the present time it is viewed as ideal that the service gynoid should make humans feel comfortable, most often in companionship, entertainment, hostessing, and reception roles. The artwork raises poignant issues pertaining to machine translation, and human–machine affinity, in context of the replication in robots of societal gender norms.
Elena Knox

Robot Opera: A Gesamtkunstwerk for the 21st Century

Robot Opera proposes an avant-garde spectacle of performative media that places robots centre stage as signifiers of high culture within a 21st century total art work of the future. This chapter addresses how framing robotic performance as a Gesamtkunstwerk (and its historical ambitions) contributes to the canon of Cultural Robotics. The notion of robotic performance agency is detailed through the history and theories surrounding representations of the robot in popular culture, representations of robots as performance agents and through the dramaturgical concepts explored in Marynowsky’s previous robotic art works.
Wade Marynowsky, Julian Knowles, Andrew Frost

The Performance of Creative Machines

Cybernetic and robotic agents have long played an instrumental role in the production of ‘machine creativity’ as a cultural discourse. This paper traces the cultural legacy of the performance of automata and discusses historical and contemporary works to explore machine creativity as a cultural, bodily practice. Creative machines are explored as performers, capable to expand the script they are given by their human creator and skillful in bidding for the audience’s attention.
Petra Gemeinboeck, Rob Saunders

The Advent of Robotic Culture


Compressorhead: The Robot Band and Its Transmedia Storyworld

Robot-human relationships are being developed and redefined due to the emerging cultural phenomenon of popular robot bands such as Compressorhead and Z-Machine. Our primary research interest in this paper is the ways in which robots relate to, interact with, and are perceived by humans - or in short, human-robot relationships. To this aim we have conducted a small-scale (multi-‘species’) ethnography in which we were participant observers in the ongoing production of both the ‘onstage’ and ‘offstage’ transmedia storyworld of the all-robot band, Compressorhead. We use Henry Jenkins’s (2004, 2006, 2008) concept of ‘transmedia storytelling’ as a way of understanding how a storyworld that includes extensive human-robot interaction is simultaneously created by both humans and robots across multiple communication media platforms. In so doing, we argue that robots can indeed be seen as musicians, performers, and even celebrities, and therefore can be taken seriously as producers of culture.
Alex Davies, Alexandra Crosby


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