Design of Etiquette for Patient Robot Interaction in a Medicine Delivery Task

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Title: Design of Etiquette for Patient Robot Interaction in a Medicine Delivery Task
Author: Zhu, Biwen
Advisors: Jeff Thompson, Committee Member
David B. Kaber, Committee Chair
Haig Khachatoorian, Committee Member
Abstract: Robots are currently being developed to perform medicine delivery tasks for patients in healthcare environments (e.g., hospitals and nursing homes). It is important to ensure that robots are able to interact with patients in ways that patients find comfortable and that promote perceptions of quality health care. Two interface features in robot design relevant to patient-robot interaction (PRI), including robot language strategies (derived from Brown and Levinson’s etiquette model in human-human interaction) and robot physical appearance, were assessed in this study for affects on perceived robot social etiquette. The goal of the study was to determine if Brown and Levinson’s model of linguistic etiquette could be extended to the human robot interaction (HRI) domain, and how different etiquette strategies might affect performance of humans and robots as mediated by manipulations of robot physical features, in a simulated concurrent medicine delivery task. To achieve this goal, a humanoid robot prototype and a neutral-looking robot prototype were used in the experiment to deliver medicine reminding utterances to subjects following different etiquette strategies. This occurred while subjects performed a primary cognitive task (i.e., the robot interaction was considered a disruption). Results showed that the etiquette model could only be partially extended to the HRI domain. Subjects interpreted and understand a robot negative utterance strategy consistent with the original etiquette model. However, such consistency was not found for a utterance following a positive etiquette strategy. Results showed that a negative etiquette strategy promoted both user task performance and robot performance (in terms of user compliance to robot requests), and resulted in the highest user perceptions of perceived etiquette (PE). A positive etiquette strategy led to the lowest PE ratings and should be avoided in social service robot interface design. It was also found that robot utterances with higher etiquette levels did not necessarily lead to higher subjective PEs. With respect to the effect of robot appearance on PE ratings and performance, it was found that user task performance scores were higher under the humanoid robot condition as compared with a neutral-looking robot, but no differences were found in terms of PE. Users also responded faster to robot requests in the humanoid robot condition. These results provide a basis for determining appropriate etiquette strategy types and robot appearance to promote better collaborative task performances for future healthcare delivery applications of service robots.
Date: 2009-06-26
Degree: MS
Discipline: Industrial Engineering

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