Engineers have created a vast array of robotic devices in recent years that may soon help people with a variety of daily jobs.

Some of these robots could just be companions, helping elderly people or people with various disabilities practice skills that usually need contact with another human, rather than helping with chores or other manual jobs.

A new robot that can play video games with a human user has been developed by researchers at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan. This robot can converse with humans and play games with them. It was first described in a paper given at the 11th International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction.

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One of the study’s researchers, Masayuki Kanbara, told Tech Xplore, “We have been developing robots that can chat while watching TV together, and interaction technology that creates empathy, in order to realize a partner robot that can live with people in their daily life.” “In this paper, we developed a robot that plays TV games together to provide opportunities for people to interact with the robot in their daily lives.”

Kanbara and his colleagues have developed a new robotic system that is built around a dialogue system that facilitates natural and easy talks with human users. When players converse with the robot during a game, this system interprets their words and generates appropriate responses.

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Additionally, the researchers created a system that modifies the game’s content to suit the needs of both robots and human players, for example, by altering the actions and appearance of the characters. As the game goes on, the robot can say things that are in line with the current events while still sounding nice.

“The proposed robot dialogues with a human while playing a competitive TV game together to realize a continuous interaction between the human and the robot in daily life,” Kanbara said. “The robot is happy when it wins and frustrated when it loses.”

Kanbara and his colleagues tested their suggested robotic system on thirty human subjects in order to evaluate its potential. After playing the same videogame both by themselves and alongside the team’s robot, the participants were asked to complete a brief questionnaire with their comments.

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The majority of respondents to this survey stated that they preferred playing with the robot over playing by themselves. This demonstrates how the team’s companion robot may amuse consumers and enhance their gaming experience.

“In recent years, some have been exploring the potential of TV games as tools to help the elderly to practice their mental skills and remain sharp,” Kanbara stated. “Therefore, our robot can be used as one of the functions to continue to use partner robots that watch over and support the lives of the elderly.”

In order to fully explore its possibilities, this study team may soon make more improvements to the robot and put it through more experimental testing. Furthermore, the results of this current study may serve as a catalyst for the creation of additional engaging, educational, and robot-assisted gaming experiences aimed at particular demographics, such elderly individuals or kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

“The evaluation in this paper showed the effectiveness of the proposed robot during a short game time of about 15 minutes,” Kanbara stated. “In the future, we aim to design a robot behavior that continues to motivate interaction over a long period of time, in terms of months or years.”


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