Spatiotemporal aspects of engagement during dialogic storytelling child-robot interaction

Heath, Scott, Durantin, Gautier, Boden, Marie, Hensby, Kristyn, Taufatofua, Jonathon, Olsson, Ola, Weigel, Jason, Pounds, Paul and Wiles, Janet (2017) Spatiotemporal aspects of engagement during dialogic storytelling child-robot interaction. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 4 . doi:10.3389/frobt.2017.00027

Author Heath, Scott
Durantin, Gautier
Boden, Marie
Hensby, Kristyn
Taufatofua, Jonathon
Olsson, Ola
Weigel, Jason
Pounds, Paul
Wiles, Janet
Title Spatiotemporal aspects of engagement during dialogic storytelling child-robot interaction
Journal name Frontiers in Robotics and AI   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2296-9144
Publication date 2017-06-22
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3389/frobt.2017.00027
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 4
Total pages 12
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Language eng
Abstract The success of robotic agents in close proximity of humans depends on their capacity to engage in social interactions and maintain these interactions over periods of time that are suitable for learning. A critical requirement is the ability to modify the behavior of the robot contingently to the attentional and social cues signaled by the human. A benchmark challenge for an engaging social robot is that of storytelling. In this paper, we present an exploratory study to investigate dialogic storytelling—storytelling with contingent responses—using a child-friendly robot. The aim of the study was to develop an engaging storytelling robot and to develop metrics for evaluating engagement. Ten children listened to an illustrated story told by a social robot during a science fair. The responses of the robot were adapted during the interaction based on the children’s engagement and touches of the pictures displayed by the robot on a tablet embedded in its torso. During the interaction the robot responded contingently to the child, but only when the robot invited the child to interact. We describe the robot architecture used to implement dialogic storytelling and evaluate the quality of human–robot interaction based on temporal (patterns of touch, touch duration) and spatial (motions in the space surrounding the robot) metrics. We introduce a novel visualization that emphasizes the temporal dynamics of the interaction and analyze the motions of the children in the space surrounding the robot. The study demonstrates that the interaction through invited contingent responses succeeded in engaging children, although the robot missed some opportunities for contingent interaction and the children had to adapt to the task. We conclude that (i) the consideration of both temporal and spatial attributes is fundamental for establishing metrics to estimate levels of engagement in real-time, (ii) metrics for engagement are sensitive to both the group and individual, and (iii) a robot’s sequential mode of interaction can facilitate engagement, despite some social events being ignored by the robot.
Keyword Engagement
Human-robot interaction
Social robotics
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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