Design and impact of hesitation gestures during human-robot resource conflicts

AJung Moon, Chris A. C. Parker, Elizabeth A. Croft, H. F. Machiel Van der Loos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In collaborative tasks, people often communicate using nonverbal gestures to coordinate actions. When two people reach for the same object at the same time, they often respond to an imminent potential collision with jerky halting hand motions that we term hesitation gestures. Successful implementation of such communicative conflict response behaviour onto robots can be useful. In a myriad of human-robot interaction contexts involving shared spaces and objects, this behaviour can provide a fast and effective means for robots to express awareness of conflict and cede right-of-way during collaborative work with users. Our previous work suggests that when a six-degree-of-freedom (6-DOF) robot traces a simplified trajectory of recorded human hesitation gestures, these robot motions are also perceived by humans as hesitation gestures. In this work, we present a characteristic motion profile derived from the recorded human hesitation motions, called the Acceleration-based Hesitation Profile (AHP). We test its efficacy to generate communicative hesitation responses by a robot in a fast-paced human-robot interaction experiment.

Compared to traditional abrupt stopping behaviours, we did not find sufficient evidence that the AHP-based robot responses improve human perception of the robot or human-robot task completion time. However, results from our in situ experiment suggest that subjects can recognize AHP-based robot responses as hesitations and distinguish them to be different from abrupt stopping behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-40
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Human - Robot Interaction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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