How googly eyes solved one of today’s trickiest user acceptance issues #Robots #Robotics @fastcompany
Katherine Schwab writes in Fastcompany about the issue of users accepting robots in places like a library in Helsinki. Adding Googly Eyes made all the difference!
Addressing the complexity of human-robot interaction was the goal of the designers behind a new robot at the central Oodi library in Helsinki, Finland. The library brought in the digital consultancy Futurice to help it to transform some of its existing robots—which help move books between floors—into ‘bots that could help librarians with other tasks.
Futurice came up with a simple interface: Googly eyes. Inspired by one of Disney’s 12 basic principles of animation, Axelsson decided to use googly eyes combined with sound and movement to both show the robot’s intent and express its state of being. Most importantly, the eyes are programmed to indicate the robot’s direction to customers, so they’re not caught unaware when it’s moving around.
The small change shifted the robot from a utilitarian automated book cart on wheels to a robot with personality. That was a big bonus: “It’s more approachable with the eyes.”
Earlier this year, the supermarket chain Giant Food Stores similarly added googly eyes to customer-facing robots, which it rolled out to 172 stores on the East Coast. The company reports that people like to take pictures with the bots.
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