Bert Robot: Smart Feeling Robot
Researchers from University College London and the University of Bristol created a humanoid named Bert to help users make an omelette. Bert has an expressive face with moveable eyes, eyebrows and a mouth, enabling it to appear happy and sad. The machine was tasked with helping willing human participants cook an omelette, by passing eggs, salt and oil. In one of the experiments the bot performed flawlessly with a permanent smile on its "face", while in another it made a mistake and tried to rectify it without changing its expression or talking. In a third version of the experiment, an expressive Bert dropped an egg causing its eyes to widen in shock and its mouth to form a frown. Bert tried to rectify the situation while apologising to the human 'chef' it was meant to be helping. The study, which aimed to investigate how a robot can recover a users' trust when it makes a mistake, suggests humans prefer working with an expressive robot that is less efficient, than a non-communicative perfect one. This was true even when tasks took 50 per cent longer to complete.
- Country: England
- Company: University of Bristol, London College