Exploring the Interaction Kinesics of a Soft Social Robot

Ulrich Farhadi, Troels Aske Klausen, Jonas Jørgensen, Evgenios Vlachos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

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In this pilot study, we explore the kinesics of a non-humanoid pneumatically actuated soft robot developed for social human-robot interaction (HRI). The robot uses motion and gesture to communicate: it can tilt; expand; and perform movements reminiscent of breathing. To explore the robot's kinesics, we hand-coded 8 movement presets intended to represent a specific action, internal state/emotion, or pattern of motion: greeting; avoid; breathless; joyful; alarming; jellyfish; frighten; sigh. We then conducted an online survey where participants (N=59) chose words to describe their perception of each preset behavior. Semantic analysis of word choices indicates that the intended meaning was conveyed to users for most of the presets. Analysis of the general comments with text mining techniques showed that the robot was perceived as resembling an animal-like sea creature or a human body part (lungs, belly, or heart) and as communicating distinct emotional states. The results indicate that it is possible to communicate with a user solely through soft robotic movement, and suggest that soft robotics has applications within the design of affective interfaces and social robotics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHCI International 2022 Posters. HCII 2022 : 24th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCII 2022, Proceedings, Part IV
EditorsConstantine Stephanidis, Margherita Antona, Stavroula Ntoa
VolumeCCIS (1583)
Publication date16. Jun 2022
ISBN (Print)978-3-031-06393-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-031-06394-7
Publication statusPublished - 16. Jun 2022
Event24th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction: HCI International 2022 - Virtual
Duration: 26. Jun 20221. Jul 2022
Conference number: 24


Conference24th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction
Internet address
SeriesCommunications in Computer and Information Science


  • Emotions
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Kinesics
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Soft robotics
  • Zoomorphic


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