Research shows that robots can improve mental health in the workplace, but only if they look right.
A study by the University of Cambridge found that, with robot They are more toy-like and feel more connected than humanoid robots.
Over the course of four weeks, 26 employees participated in weekly robot-led wellness classes.
While the bots have the same voice, facial expressions and scripts in meetings, their appearance affects how people interact with them and how people perceive them.
The first QT is a child-like humanoid robot about 90 cm tall, while the second Misty is a 36 cm tall toy-like robot.
According to the researchers, the toy-like robots appear simpler, which means that people may have lower expectations and end up finding the robots easier to talk to and connect with.
Those who work with humanoid robots find that their expectations do not match reality, as the robots cannot behave or interact like real people.
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These perceptions of robots are often guided by popular culture. In movies, TV shows and books, robots can do anything that a person’s imagination can conjure up, the researchers added.
But when facing robots in the real world, they often fail to live up to it.
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These perceptions of “how robots should look or behave may hinder the application of robots in areas where they can be useful,” said study co-author Minja Axelsson.
Professor Hatice Gunes, from the Department of Computer Science and Technology at the University of Cambridge, said it would be “extremely difficult” to make a robot that could converse naturally.