Saturday, November 03, 2007
HCI and Human Robot Interaction
These last weeks I have met people from the Human Robot Interaction research field (Jodi Forlizzi, CMU and Peter Kahn, UW, and our new colleague Matthias Scheutz, IU). It has been highly interesting and I have learnt and realized things that I had not thought about. It is clear that the two fields are moving closer to each other with a growing overlap. If HRI has primarily been addressing the internal workings of a robot, HCI has been all about interaction. When HRI now actually can build robots with quite interesting and sophisticated qualities, the design challenges between the fields are becoming similar. Interaction design is becoming more aware of the dynamic and interactive (even intelligent) environment that people experience as part of their reality. Maybe the only difference is that robots move and environments do not! A "smart" home is a form of non-movable but highly interactive robot. Interaction with a robot with some kind of human persona is getting more common, as well as interaction with environments that have human characteristics when it comes to interaction (if not in their appearance). Anyhow, all this brings the two fields together in a way that is exciting and promising and, I think, good for both fields. So, let's study human interaction with robots or environments in whatever form and shape they come. We have only seen the beginning....By the way, this is also what Don Norman's new book is about (see my last post!).