Now, a robot vacuum cleaner that senses human emotions

March 29th, 2009 - 12:40 pm ICT by ANI  

London, March 29 (ANI): University of Calgary researchers have announced the invention of a specially-equipped robot vacuum cleaner that can sense human emotions.

The scientists say that the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner uses a special headband to capture bioelectric signals from the forehead of a human user, and then infers stress from muscle tension readings.

The system involves a control software programme that reinterprets natural muscle tension as estimating the user’s stress level, they add.

“Two distinct robotic behaviours corresponding to two extreme emotional states, either relaxed or stressed, are triggered when the stress reading reach a threshold. Robot actions are then influenced by these stress readings. When a person shows high stress (~levels 3 & 4), the robot enters its cleaning mode but moves away from the user so as not annoy them. When a person is relaxed (~level 1), the robot (if cleaning) approaches the person and then stops, simulating a pet sitting next to its owner. If the reading is in between these two levels, the robot continues operating in its current mode until the stress reading reaches a threshold,” New Scientist magazine quoted the researchers as saying.

Telling about the unique feature of this system, the researchers said that the robot’s behaviour is controlled by human emotion instead of any explicit commands.

The university team have described the new system in a paper titled ‘Using Bio-electrical Signals to Influence the Social Behaviours of Domesticated Robots’. (ANI)

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