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Infrasound for HRI: A Robot Using Low-Frequency Vibrations to Impact How People Perceive its Actions

We investigate robots using infrasound, low-frequency vibrational energy at or near the human threshold for hearing, as an interaction tool for working with people. Research in psychology suggests that the presence of infrasound can impact a person’s emotional state and mood, even when the person is not acutely aware of the infrasound. Thus, we examine if infrasound may impact how people interpret a robot’s social communication: if the presence of infrasound makes a robot seem more or less happy, energetic, etc., as a result of impacting a person’s mood. We present the results from a series of experiments that investigate how people rate a social robot’s emotionally-charged gestures, and how varied levels and sources of infrasound impact these ratings. Our results show that infrasound does have a psychological effect on the person’s perception of the robot’s behaviors, supporting this as a technique that a robot can use as part of its interaction-design toolkit. We further provide a comparison of infrasound generation methods.

Thiessen, R., Rea, D. J., Garcha, D. S., Cheng, C.,Young, J. E. (2019). Infrasound for HRI: A Robot Using Low-Frequency Vibrations to Impact How People Perceive its Actions. In Proceedings of the 14th ACM/IEEE International Conference of Human-Robot Interaction.

Authors

Raquel Thiessen

Raquel Thiessen

Undergraduate Student
Daniel J. Rea

Daniel J. Rea

PhD Student
Cheng Cheng

Cheng Cheng

Alumni
James E.Young

James E.Young

Associate Professor