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“Hi human, can we talk?” An in-the-wild study template for robots approaching unsuspecting participants

We present a study design template for conducting an in-the-wild human-robot interaction study, where a robot has to “cold-call” approach and attempt to start a conversation with unsuspecting participants, ultimately asking the participant for help with a task. Our protocol uses the length of time that a person helps the robot as a measure of engagement; a researcher can modify their interaction protocol and investigate how this impacts the engagement time, in addition to any qualitative investigation employed. We further provide an ethics protocol solution that addresses concerns over informed consent, while balancing for minimal impact on natural interaction by relying primarily on post-test debriefing. We envision that this template can be used by researchers as a starting-point for developing similar in-the-wild studies, providing base-line ethics and interaction solutions from which additional variables and conditions can be added.

Elaheh Sanoubari, James E. Young. “Hi human, can we talk? An in-the-wild study template for robots approaching unsuspecting participants" in proceedings of the Workshop on the Social Robots in the Wild at the 13th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. ACM. 2018.