A pondering robot : How gestures can indicate loading in robots
Abstract: Waiting while computers and websites process and load information is a common occurrence and research shows that loading indicators can be used to elevate the user experience. Research on loading time for humanoid robots has so far mainly focused on the effects of auditory processing indicators or auditory processing indicators in combination with bodily gestures. This study will instead discuss and evaluate the effects of solely using bodily gestures. Previous research and interviews with two theatre professionals inspired two gestures that were designed for this study and deployed to a humanoid robot, Pepper. An in-the-wild study was conducted at a bank where 24 participants interacted with the robot, half of them with and half without loading gestures. Afterwards, the participants answered a complementary survey. The results show that the gestures used in this study had an overall negative effect on the user experience. The implemented gestures might have been confusing the users as they possibly had other expectations when interacting with the robot during this study, this would have affected the user experience negatively. It could be expectations based on previous encounters with other Pepper, or other humanoid robots, or expectation formed when initiating the study on Pepper. Future studies in the field of human and robot interactions could, for example, focus on the use of more exaggerated gestures or how stress could affect participants expectations on their interactions with humanoid robots. A recommendation, in case this study were to be redone, would be to conduct the test in a more clinical environment to keep more parameters constant throughout the study.
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