A new robot called 'Roboy' is helping to highlight the psychological challenges in robot design.
While the creation of a humanoid robot is mostly seen as a technological challenge, developing a design that humans will feel comfortable having around and interacting with is as much of a consideration as its mechanical capabilities. Research has shown that people don't always appreciate the way that humanoid robots look so for Roboy roboticists used a minimalistic, friendly face to make it seem less of a threat.
"There are quite a number of studies that suggest that as long as people can clearly see that the robot is a machine, even if they project their feelings into it, then they feel comfortable," said Rolf Pfeifer of the University of Zurich.
"A new robot unveiled this week highlights the psychological and technical challenges of designing a humanoid that people actually want to have around."
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