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Social Robotics for Non-social Teleoperation: Leveraging Social Techinques to Impact Teleoperator Performance and Experience

Purpose of review – Research has demonstrated the potential for robotic interfaces to leverage human-like social interaction techniques, for example, autonomous social robots as companions, professional team members, or as social proxies in robot telepresence. We propose that there is an untapped opportunity to extend the benefits of social robotics to more traditional teleoperation, where the robot does not typically communicate with the operator socially. We argue that teleoperated robots can and should leverage social techniques to shape interactions with the operator, even in use cases such as remote exploration or inspection that do not involve using the robot to communicate with other people.
Recent findings – The core benefit of social robotics is to leverage human-like and thus familiar social techniques to communicate effectively or shape people’s mood and behavior. Initial results provide proofs of concept for similar benefits of social techniques applied to more traditional teleoperation, for example, we can design teleoperated robots as social agents to facilitate communication or to shape operator behavior, or teleoperated robots can leverage knowledge of operator psychology to change perceptions, potentially improving operation safety and performance.
Summary – This paper provides a proposal and roadmap for leveraging social robotics techniques in more classical teleoperation interfaces.


Rea, D.J., Seo, S.H. & Young, J.E. Social Robotics for Nonsocial Teleoperation: Leveraging Social Techniques to Impact Teleoperator Performance and Experience. Curr Robot Rep (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43154-020-00020-7


Stela Hanbyeol Seo

Stela Hanbyeol Seo

PhD Student
James E.Young

James E.Young