Zhao Han* and Yifei Zhu* and Albert Phan and Fernando Sandoval Garza and Amia Castro and Tom Williams
ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
Augmented Reality (AR) technologies present an exciting new medium for human-robot interactions, enabling new opportunities for both implicit and explicit human-robot communication. For example, these technologies enable physically-limited robots to execute non-verbal interaction patterns such as deictic gestures despite lacking the physical morphology necessary to do so. However, a wealth of HRI research has demonstrated real benefits to physical embodiment (compared to, e.g., virtual robots on screens), suggesting AR augmentation of virtual robot parts could face challenges. In this work, we present empirical evidence comparing the use of virtual (AR) and physical arms to perform deictic gestures that identify virtual or physical referents. Our subjective and objective results demonstrate the success of mixed reality deictic gestures in overcoming these potential limitations, and their successful use regardless of differences in physicality between gesture and referent. These results help to motivate the further deployment of mixed reality robotic systems and provide nuanced insight into the role of mixed-reality technologies in HRI contexts.