Does it matter if your robot well-being coach is more humanoid, or just looks like a toy robot? Apparently it does, according to researchers from the University of Cambridge, who carried out a study in a tech consultancy firm using two different robot well-being coaches.
Although the robots had identical voices, facial expressions, and scripts for the sessions, the robots' physical appearances affected how participants interacted with them.
Participants who did their well-being exercises with a toy-like robot said that they felt more of a connection with their "coach" than participants who worked with a humanoid-like robot. The researchers say that perception of robots is affected by popular culture, where the only limit on what robots can do is the imagination. When faced with a robot in the real world however, it often does not live up to expectations.
Since the toy-like robot looks simpler, participants may have had lower expectations and ended up finding the robot easier to talk connect with. Participants who worked with the humanoid robot found that their expectations didn't match reality, since the robot was not capable of having interactive conversations.