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People's preferences will determine future robots' faces

Washington, Oct. 2 : A new study has revealed that older and younger people have varying preferences about what they would want a personal robot to look like.


In the study, participants were shown a series of photos portraying either robotic, human or mixed human-robot faces and were asked to select the one that they would prefer for their robot's appearance.

Most college-aged adults in the study preferred a robotic appearance, although they were also generally open to the others.

However, nearly 60 percent of older adults said they would want a robot with a human face, and only 6 percent of them chose one with a mixed human-robot appearance.

But the preferences in both age groups wavered a bit when participants were told the robot was assisting with personal care, chores, social interaction or for helping to make decisions.

Akanksha Prakash, a School of Psychology graduate student, Georgia Institute of Technology, who led the study, said that they found that participants, both younger and older, will assign emotional traits to a robot based on its face, which will determine what they are most comfortable interacting with.

Preferences were less strong for helping with chores, although the majority of older and younger participants chose a robot with a robotic face.

But for decision-making tasks, such as getting advice for where to invest money, younger participants tended to select a mixed human-robot appearance.

A robotic face was their least favored choice for this task. Older adults generally preferred a human face.

In the final category, assistance with social tasks, both age groups preferred a human face for the assistive robot.

--ANI (Posted on 02-10-2013)

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