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Year: 2013-
Eleuda Nunez
Kenji Suzuki

- Cybernics
- Social Interaction

PEPITA: A Design of Robot Pet Interface
A Robotic Pet for Sharing Social Information and Promoting Interaction


Sharing social information such as photos and experiences is becoming a part of everyday interaction. In this study, we introduce a robot pet, which is able to bring people together by promoting interaction both among humans who share the same place and those separated by distance. However, the use of communication technologies has led to concerns when people are immersed in virtual experiences and real-life social interactions decrease as a consequence. To avoid this, we propose a way of sharing interactions in the same space by using a projector and allowing distant communication via internet in order to share one basic kind of human communication such as hugs. For this first stage, we present the design and implementation of the proposed robot pet which is based on smartphone and a projector to display photos and the pet’s internal states. In addition, an LED color study in a public space is also given as a set of design parameters.

In this work, we presented the design and implementation of a robot pet interface that can be used to promote interaction. To achieve this, two ways of interaction using this device were proposed. This first implementation starts by projecting pictures through the robot’s eyes and displaying avatars for each of the pet’s internal states. We started exploring the versatility of projectors for different kinds of feedback using a smartphone. The second one is instant-message type of communication, a short message with the intent of sharing that someone is there, triggered by hug interaction. For this we began by designing a set of soft pressure sensors. In the performance study, this kind of sensor proved to work for the intended application. From the LED color evaluation, we concluded that it is necessary to implement a color strategy based on internal states to encourage users to interact with the device. In future implementations, we aim to use internet features to transfer the hug interaction from one device to another. The design parameters were chosen carefully following previous works in the area of social robotics.

In the future, we plan to further evaluate this interface with users, and based on their feedback, improve the design. Since the main purpose of the device is to promote interaction, the next step is to add internet features that allow, for example, the user to send the pictures of PEPITAs point of view, from one device to another. In this way, by using the hug interaction, users will be able to communicate with each other in a more emotional way. Further, we consider the possibility of sending pictures and some information about the interaction with the device, to a social network and share them with a larger group of people, and, in this way, exploit all the features of the Android device.

Finally, another possible evaluation to be done would be related to achieving a long term interaction with a robot pet that brings people together by providing different ways of communication and interaction.



  • Nunez, E., Uchida, K., Suzuki, K., "PEPITA: A design of robot pet interface for promoting interaction," Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, Springer, 2013. (in press)
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