Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in: Proceedings of the 5th ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-robot interaction (HRI '10), IEEE Press Piscataway, NJ, USA, pp 127-128.


Copyright © 2010 IEEE. Used by permission.


This paper describes the Survivor Buddy human-robot interaction project and how it was used by four middle-school girls to illustrate the scientific process for an episode of “SciGirls”, a Public Broadcast System science reality show. Survivor Buddy is a four degree of freedom robot head, with the face being a MIMO 740 multi-media touch screen monitor. It is being used to explore consistency and trust in the use of robots as social mediums, where robots serve as intermediaries between dependents (e.g., trapped survivors) and the outside world (doctors, rescuers, family members). While the SciGirl experimentation was neither statistically significant nor rigorously controlled, the experience makes three contributions. It introduces the Survivor Buddy project and social medium role, it illustrates that human-robot interaction is an appealing way to make robotics more accessible to the general public, and raises interesting questions about the existence of a minimum set of degrees of freedom for sufficient expressiveness, the relative importance of voice versus non-verbal affect, and the range and intensity of robot motions.