Haru is a big-eyed robot developed by Honda Research Institute that can take the concept of social robotics to the next level. Where the design is aiming to create an emotional and expressive companion for long term human-robot relationships with similarities of human-pet relations. Haru is designed both for telepresence and direct communication. As the developers now are working on making the robot more autonomous as communicating on behalf of a remote person or when it is communicating for itself. This includes mixing the two communication channels with different personalities. But also to enhance communication in a multi-cultural context by displaying culturally appropriate social cues without the operator controlling it.
Social Robot for research
Haru is already today included in several social research projects in public spaces. Where interaction-based dynamic interpretation of trust, design and empathy, is studied. And furthermore how people of different ages and cognitive abilities make sense of and interact with Haru. These public spaces include a children’s science museum, an elementary school, and an intergenerational daycare institution. The researchers have identified three main pillars of research activity that include:
- Entertainment and play including interactive storytelling and expressive humour
- Physically enriched social networking
- Mental well-being including Haru’s role as a coach
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