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Aesthetics and Robotics: Which Form to give to the Human-Like Robot?

Authors: B. Tondu, N. Bardou


The recent development of humanoid robots has led robot designers to imagine a great variety of anthropomorphic forms for human-like machine. Which form is the best ? We try to answer this question from a double meaning of the anthropomorphism : a positive anthropomorphism corresponing to the realization of an effective anthropomorphic form object and a negative one corresponding to our natural tendency in certain circumstances to give human attributes to non-human beings. We postulate that any humanoid robot is concerned by both these two anthropomorphism kinds. We propose to use gestalt theory and Heider-s balance theory in order to analyze how negative anthropomorphism can influence our perception of human-like robots. From our theoretical approach we conclude that an “even shape" as defined by gestalt theory is not a sufficient condition for a good integration of future humanoid robots into a human community. Aesthetic perception of the robot cannot be splitted from a social perception : a humanoid robot, any how the efforts made for improving its appearance, could be rejected if it is devoted to a task with too high affective implications.

Keywords: Robot appearance, humanoid robot, uncanny valley, human-robot-interaction.

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