Crowdsourcing Human-Robot Interaction: New Methods and System Evaluation in a Public Environment

C. Breazeal, N. DePalma, J. Orkin, S. Chernova, M. Jung


Supporting a wide variety of interaction styles across a diverse set of people is a significant challenge in human-robot interaction (HRI). In this work, we explore a data-driven approach that relies on crowdsourcing as a rich source of interactions that cover a wide repertoire of human behavior. We first develop an online game that requires two players to collaborate to solve a task. One player takes the role of a robot avatar and the other a human avatar, each with a different set of capabilities that must be coordinated to overcome challenges and complete the task. Leveraging the interaction data recorded in the online game, we present a novel technique for data-driven behavior generation using case-based planning for a real robot. We compare the resulting autonomous robot behavior against a Wizard of Oz base case condition in a real-world reproduction of the online game that was conducted at the Boston Museum of Science. Results of a post-study survey of participants indicate that the autonomous robot behavior matched the performance of the human-operated robot in several important measures. We examined video recordings of the real-world game to draw additional insights as to how the novice participants attempted to interact with the robot in a loosely structured collaborative task. We discovered that many of the collaborative interactions were generated in the moment and were driven by interpersonal dynamics, not necessarily by the task design. We explored using bids analysis as a meaningful construct to tap into affective qualities of HRI. An important lesson from this work is that in loosely structured collaborative tasks, robots need to be skillful in handling these in-the-moment interpersonal dynamics, as these dynamics have an important impact on the affective quality of the interaction for people. How such interactions dovetail with more taskoriented policies is an important area for future work, as we anticipate such interactions becoming commonplace in situations where personal robots perform loosely structured tasks in interaction with people in human living spaces.

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