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This paper investigates people’s social acceptance of a childcare support robot system and compares it with existing childcare technologies (anesthesia during labor and baby food, i.e. processed food and formula milk) through web-based questionnaires between Japan and USA and a field study in Japan. We investigated social acceptance through four scales: intention to use, safety and trustworthiness, negative attitudes, and decreasing workload. For this paper, our participants included 400 people (200 from each country) in Japan and USA located through a web-based survey who answered questionnaires about the four scales to investigate their social acceptance of childcare support technologies. Our web-based survey results indicate that our system’s concept was evaluated lower than current childcare support technologies in both Japan and USA. We also conducted a field trial with 30 additional people in Japan and through their actual experiences investigated their evaluations of the prototype of our childcare support robot system. © 2017 Taylor & Francis and The Robotics Society of Japan.

Shiomi M.,ATR IRC | Hagita N.,ATR IRC
HAI 2014 - Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction | Year: 2014

This study reports a preliminary investigation of a trial to support child-care at an intelligent playroom. We installed a human tracking system and a toy-like robot into the playroom to record children/parents activities. Moreover, we interviewed nurses at nursery schools to study their attitude towards use of robotics technologies for child-care to investigate the social acceptance of robots for supporting child-care.

Iio T.,ATR IRC | Shiomi M.,ATR IRC | Kamei K.,ATR IRC | Sharma C.,ATR IRC | Hagita N.,ATR IRC
HAI 2014 - Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction | Year: 2014

This study developed a fall detection system for elderly people in a nursing home and investigated their acceptance of it. The system obtained their positions and heights from range sensors and used that information to correctly detect 89.5% of the falls based on data where the elderly crouched in a mockup room of a nursing home. We investigated the social acceptance with elderly people by comparing three conditions: (1) only detecting out-of-bed, (2) detecting falls in a room and always showing the human position, and (3) detecting falls in a room and only showing the human position when a fall happened. The results showed that intention to use were significantly higher in the second and third conditions than the first condition.

Shiomi M.,ATR IRC | Sakamoto D.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | Kanda T.,ATR IRC | Ishi C.T.,ATR IRC | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Social Robotics | Year: 2011

We developed a networked robot system in which ubiquitous sensors support robot sensing and a human operator processes the robot's decisions during interaction. To achieve semi-autonomous operation for a communication robot functioning in real environments, we developed an operator-requesting mechanism that enables the robot to detect situations that it cannot handle autonomously. Therefore, a human operator helps by assuming control with minimum effort. The robot system consists of a humanoid robot, floor sensors, cameras, and a sound-level meter. For helping people in real environments, we implemented such basic communicative behaviors as greetings and route guidance in the robot and conducted a field trial at a train station to investigate the robot system's effectiveness. The results attest to the high acceptability of the robot system in a public space and also show that the operator-requesting mechanism correctly requested help in 84.7% of the necessary situations; the operator only had to control 25% of the experiment time in the semi-autonomous mode with a robot system that successfully guided 68% of the visitors. © Springer Science & Business Media BV 2010.

Kanda T.,ATR IRC | Shimada M.,ATR IRC
Interaction Studies | Year: 2012

This study investigates the influence of a robot's speech rate. In human communication, slow speech is considered boring, speech at normal speed is perceived as credible, and fast speech is perceived as competent. To seek the appropriate speech rate for robots, we test whether these tendencies are replicated in human-robot interaction by conducting an experiment with four rates of speech: fast, normal, moderately slow, and slow. Our experimental results reveal a rather surprising trend. Participants prefer normal and moderately slow speech to fast speech. A robot that provides normal or moderately slow speech is perceived as competent. We further study how context affects this perception. In a situation where the robot and participants talk while walking, we found that slow speech was the most comprehensible. In addition, slow speech is subjectively perceived as good as moderately slow and normal speech. © John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Glas D.F.,ATR IRC | Morales Y.,ATR IRC | Kanda T.,ATR IRC | Ishiguro H.,Osaka University | Hagita N.,ATR IRC
Autonomous Robots | Year: 2015

Accurate robot localization and people tracking are necessary for deploying service robots in crowded everyday environments such as shopping malls, and features like product displays change over time, making map-based localization using on-board sensors difficult. We propose the use of an external sensor system to track people together with one or more robots. This approach is more robust to occlusions than on-board sensing and is unaffected by changing map features. In our system, laser range finders track people and robots in the environment, and odometry data is used to associate each robot with a tracked entity and correct the robot’s pose. Techniques are also presented for identifying and recovering from tracking errors. Simulation results show that our system can outperform localization using on-board sensors, both in tracking accuracy and in automatic recovery from errors. We demonstrate our system’s effectiveness in simulation, in a controlled experiment in a real shopping mall environment, and in real human–robot interactions with customers in a busy shopping arcade. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Nakahata T.,Doshisha University | Shiomi M.,ATR IRC | Iio T.,ATR IRC | Tanev I.,Doshisha University | Shimohara K.,Doshisha University
2015 54th Annual Conference of the Society of Instrument and Control Engineers of Japan, SICE 2015 | Year: 2015

Video viewing with smartphones has health problems for children. In addition, rulemaking tendency for a use of smartphones is weaker than television in Japn. In this study, we propose a system to support voluntary stops of children in a video viewing context for video viewing problem of children. One of unique approach is to implement 'once more' function for encouraging voluntarily stops of children. The child has interested in the video contents during a certain time. The parent preferred to use our system because the system provides the snapshot of playing videos to the parents and limit the contents and the viewing time for children. We continue to improve on our system with user's feedback, and plan to conduct evaluation experiment of the system again. © 2015 The Society of Instrument and Control Engineers-SICE.

Kimoto M.,Doshisha University | Iio T.,ATR IRC | Shiomi M.,ATR IRC | Tanev I.,Doshisha University | Shimohara K.,Doshisha University
2015 54th Annual Conference of the Society of Instrument and Control Engineers of Japan, SICE 2015 | Year: 2015

Nowadays, the Internet is media surroundings of information society where people transmit, exchange and consume information freely, and also necessary infrastructure for modern societal activities. However, once information is transmitted through the Internet media, it becomes a passive entity of only being consumed by receivers. Aiming to fully utilize such capabilities of the Internet and to exploit media functionality of information, we put forward Rhizomic-link as a mecha-nism for self-organizing of information, which autonomously intermediates and networks information. In this paper, we introduce the concept of the Rhizomic-link as a mechanism for self-organizing of information. In addition, we describe a prototype system to implement the mechanism and the expected effects. © 2015 The Society of Instrument and Control Engineers-SICE.

Shiomi M.,ATR IRC | Shiomi M.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | Zanlungo F.,ATR IRC | Zanlungo F.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Social Robotics | Year: 2014

Safe navigation is a fundamental capability for robots that move among pedestrians. The traditional approach in robotics to attain such a capability has treated pedestrians as moving obstacles and provides algorithms that assure collision-free motion in the presence of such moving obstacles. In contrast, recent studies have focused on providing the robot not only collision-free motion but also a socially acceptable behavior by planning the robot's path to maintain a "social distance" from pedestrians and respect their personal space. Such a social behavior is perceived as natural by the pedestrians and thus provides them a comfortable feeling, even if it may be considered a decorative element from a strictly safety oriented perspective. In this work we develop a system that realizes human-like collision avoidance in a mobile robot. In order to achieve this goal, we use a pedestrian model from human science literature, a version of the popular Social Force Model that was specifically designed to reproduce conditions similar to those found in shopping malls and other pedestrians facilities. Our findings show that the proposed system, which we tested in 2-h field trials in a real world environment, not only is perceived as comfortable by pedestrians but also yields safer navigation than traditional collision-free methods, since it better fits the behavior of the other pedestrians in the crowd. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Shiomi M.,ATR IRC | Shinozawa K.,ATR IRC | Nakagawa Y.,ATR IRC | Miyashita T.,ATR IRC | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Social Robotics | Year: 2013

We developed a coupon-giving robot system for a shopping mall to explore possible applications using social robots in daily environments, particularly for advertising. The system provided information through conversations with people. The robot was semi-autonomous, which means that it was partly controlled by a human operator, to cope with the difficulty of speech recognition in real environments. We conducted two field trials to investigate two kinds of effectiveness related to recommendations: the presence of a robot and different conversation schemas. Although a robot can strongly attract people with its presence and interaction, it remains unknown whether it can increase the effects of advertisements in real environments. Our field trial results show that a small robot increased the number of people who printed coupons more than a normal-sized robot. The number of people who printed coupons also increased when the robot asked visitors to freely select from all coupon candidates or to listen to its recommendation. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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