Roboticists have invested considerable effort into making humans feel more comfortable when interacting with their mechanical counterparts. Much of the research to date has focused on making robots behave more naturally, such as using hand gestures and making eye contact. But what could be more natural than sweating?
Professor Tomoko Yonezawa and her research team at Kansai University want to endow robots with the same types of involuntary physiological reactions that we have, reports IEEE Spectrum. One prototype gets "goosebumps" when the robot is faced with a cool breeze or told a scary story. Another device is a robotic head that can perspire when feeling anxious:
You might ask, "Couldn't a robot just state its intentions and 'feelings' instead of needing this subtle and complex cue system?" According to research at Georgia Tech, sometimes we actually feel uneasy when the robot explicitly states its intent before an action. It's just... awkward.
What's more, Yonezawa says that "sometimes we make facial expressions that are different from what's going on in our mind." In contrast, involuntary behaviors reveal our "true feelings," and by giving robot these capabilities, we could feel more at ease with them, because we would be able to read their intentions.
Source: IEEE Spectrum