Designing robot eyes for communicating gaze

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Human eyes not only serve the function of enabling us “to see” something, but also perform the vital role of allowing us “to show” our gaze for non-verbal communication, such as through establishing eye contact and joint attention. The eyes of service robots should therefore also perform both of these functions. Moreover, they should be friendly in appearance so that humans may feel comfortable with the robots. Therefore we maintain that it is important to consider gaze communication capability and friendliness in designing the appearance of robot eyes. In this paper, we propose a new robot face with rear-projected eyes for changing their appearance while simultaneously realizing the showing of gaze by incorporating stereo cameras. Additionally, we examine which shape of robot eyes is most suitable for gaze reading and gives the friendliest impression, through experiments where we altered the shape and iris size of robot eyes.


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