Yohanan, S., and MacLean, K.E., “The Haptic Creature Project: Social Human-Robot Interaction through Affective Touch,” in Proc. of The Reign of Katz and Dogz, 2nd AISB Symp on the Role of Virtual Creatures in a Computerised Society (AISB '08), Aberdeen, UK, pp. 7-11, 2008.
The communication of emotion plays an important role in social interaction. Research in affective display both in the social sciences and in social human-robot interaction has focused almost exclusively on the modalities of vision and audition; however, touch has received disproportionate attention. This paper presents an overview of the Haptic Creature project, where we seek to develop a deeper understanding of affect display through touch in the context of social interaction between human and robot. We also hope to gain knowledge on the role affective touch plays in supporting companionship. Drawing from studies on human-animal interaction, we are developing the Haptic Creature, a robot that mimics a small pet that interacts through touch. Details of the robot and related user studies are presented.