Making robots more human-like through nonverbal behavior

Sophia the Robot, created by Hanson Robotics, demonstrating the Embody Digital automated gesturing system. Photocredit: Veracode, https://twitter.com/Veracode/status/1103373512893296640

Why is nonverbal behavior important?

How does it work?

Hanson Robotic’s Sophia robot using the Embody Digital automated performance system through its chat system.

What everyone else does…

  1. Only articulating the mouth in order to mimic the human lip movements when generating the sounds of speech. This method ignores head movements, facial expressions and other nonverbal behaviors that humans generate.
  2. Creating an entire robotic performance ahead of time (i.e. baking the performance.) This results in either repetitive movements unrelated to the utterance, or a performance that must be hand tuned for every utterance, and thus is unsuitable for dynamic interaction where the content of the utterance changes constantly, such as when being driven by a conversational AI. Hand-tuning is also very expensive, as the entire motion needs to be generated by an animator or robotic performance creator ahead of time.
  3. Occasionally triggering a gesture based on simple word spotting (i.e. point at a person when you say the word ‘you’, point at yourself when you say the word ‘me’). This simple method fails to exploit the the complex relation between speech and nonverbal behavior, or to prioritize different types of behavior.

Social Robots and the use of nonverbal behavior

About Embody Digital

References

Ari is a researcher, engineer and scientist as well as an expert in 3D human modeling. He is an 11 time SIGGRAPH speaker and CEO of Embody Digital.

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Ari Shapiro, Ph.D.

Ari Shapiro, Ph.D.

Ari is a researcher, engineer and scientist as well as an expert in 3D human modeling. He is an 11 time SIGGRAPH speaker and CEO of Embody Digital.

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