Meet me where I'm gazing: How shared attention gaze affects human-robot handover timing

Ajung Moon, Minhua Zheng, Daniel M. Troniak, Benjamin A. Blumer, Brian Gleeson, Karon MacLean, Matthew K.X.J. Pan, Elizabeth A. Croft

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther

76 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we provide empirical evidence that using humanlike gaze cues during human-robot handovers can improve the timing and perceived quality of the handover event. Handovers serve as the foundation of many human-robot tasks. Fluent, legible handover interactions require appropriate nonverbal cues to signal handover intent, location and timing. Inspired by observations of human-human handovers, we implemented gaze behaviors on a PR2 humanoid robot. The robot handed over water bottles to a total of 102 naïve subjects while varying its gaze behaviour: no gaze, gaze designed to elicit shared attention at the handover location, and the shared attention gaze complemented with a turn-taking cue. We compared subject perception of and reaction time to the robot-initiated handovers across the three gaze conditions. Results indicate that subjects reach for the offered object significantly earlier when a robot provides a shared attention gaze cue during a handover. We also observed a statistical trend of subjects preferring handovers with turn-taking gaze cues over the other conditions. Our work demonstrates that gaze can play a key role in improving user experience of human-robot handovers, and help make handovers fast and fluent.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHRI 2014 - Proceedings of the 2014 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781450326582
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventAnnual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) 2014 - Bielefeld, Germany
Duration: 3 Mar 20146 Mar 2014
Conference number: 9th (Proceedings)


ConferenceAnnual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) 2014
Abbreviated titleHRI 2014
Internet address


  • Handover
  • Head gaze
  • Human-robot communication
  • Nonverbal communication
  • Turn-taking

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