Emotional gait: effects on humans’ perception of humanoid robots

Humanoid robots have this formidable advantage to possess a body quite similar in shape to humans. This body grants them, obviously, locomotion but also a medium to express emotions without even needing a face. In this paper we propose to study the effects of emotional gaits from our biped humanoid robot on the subjects’ perception of the robot (recognition rate of the emotions, reaction time, anthropomorphism, safety, likeness, etc.). We made the robot walk towards the subjects with different emotional gait patterns. We assessed positive (Happy) and negative (Sad) emotional gait patterns on 26 subjects divided in two groups (whether they were familiar with robots or not). We found that even though the recognition of the different types of patterns does not differ between groups, the reaction time does. We found that emotional gait patterns affect the perception of the robot. The implications of the current results for Human Robot Interaction (HRI) are discussed.