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November 2020

Emoji to Robomoji: Exploring Affective Telepresence Through Haru

  • R. Gomez, D. Szapiro, M. Luis, H. Brock, K. Nakamura, S. Sabanovich,
  • in The 12 International Conference on Social Robotics,
  • vol. 12483,
  • Springer,
  • 2020,
  • pp. 652-663,
  • Conference paper

In this paper, we present a method of communicating affects from a remote user through the telepresence robot Haru. In this preliminary work, we transform the traditional mode of communicating text messages with emojis in the smartphone domain to the robot domain through robomojis- a hardware rendition of emojis. First we analyze human affects and expressions and synthesized these through the design of robomojis. Based on the telepresence robot Haru platform, we built a communication module that enables a remote user with a smartphone to send text and emoji messages to the robot. The robot then communicates these affectively through the rendition of robomojis. By exploiting the robot’s rich modality and through design, our preliminary results show that robomojis deliver better rendition than emojis. Although participants prefer the use of smartphones over telepresence robot due to convenience, our findings also show that they are willing to use the robomoji features in a telepresence robot such as Haru. This could enhance further the role of social robots as telepresence robots and open the possibility of integrating them to the traditional communication ecosystem.

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