Design of a Therapeutic Robotic Companion for Relational, Affective Touch

Stiehl,W., Breazeal, C.


Much research has shown the positive health benefits of companion animals. Unfortunately these animals are not always available to patients due to allergies, risk of disease, or other reasons. Recently, this application domain has attracted attention of robotics researchers. The Huggable is a new type of robotic companion capable of active relational and affective touch-based interactions with a person. It features a high number of somatic sensors (electric field, temperature, and force) over the entire surface of the robot, underneath a soft silicone skin and fur fabric covering. This paper describes the design and early results in recognizing affective content of touch for this robot.

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