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Will You Welcome A Jibo Into Your Home?

In my last post, I mentioned Dr. Cynthia Breazeal’s founding of her new company as an example of the emergence of  robots designed to the social framework we apply as we interact in the world. This week, she unveiled Jibo, a personal robot for your home. It is no secret that we tend to respond to social stimuli even when generated from technology. While there has some debate in the robotics community about how far you can take this before you fall into the so-called “uncanny valley”, where too much anthropomorphic design may make a robot seem creepy, there is little doubt that it is almost unavoidable to create a some social context with robots. I’ve previously cited classic study by Drs. Heidel and Simmel in 1944. Subjects asked to describe animation of moving geometric shapes typically used social terms to described the interaction even though no such context was provided before….

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A Parting Salute to Cliff Nass – Social Interface Pioneer and Good Friend

I met Cliff Nass in late 1994. He and his colleague Byron Reeves were consulting on a project at Microsoft called “Utopia”, often cited as an example of one the company’s greatest failures—Microsoft Bob. However, that attribution is unfortunate because Cliff (and the history behind Microsoft Bob) contributed in a very positive way to Hoaloha’s design philosophy and to the entire technology industry. At that time, Cliff and Byron were both professors of sociology at Stanford University, initially researching how we humans interact and the almost innate, unconscious patterns of behavior we exhibit. For example, their research that human social behavior such as our natural tendency to give more positive feedback when face-to-face than when relating that information to another party, that participating within a group makes tend to feel more positive about our team members, that we hold stereotypes based on the gender of voices, and that we tend…

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We do what we must because…

I’ve received a few queries asking about our status. Blog entries are typically posted frequently by their creators, so I am a bit overdue for an update. It’s not for lack of progress, but because of it. We have been so busy at Hoaloha that it has been hard to take a break, but let me try to bring you up to date. First, we did a major shift from our original strategy. Initially I had hoped to focus purely on the software development side of the solution for two reasons: 1) there seemed to be enough challenges here and 2) there appeared to be a number of companies already working on assistive care robots so it didn’t seem necessary to invest on the hardware side. You can read about some of them such as Robosoft, who participated with their robot Kompaï in the recently concluded Mobiserv project in Europe…

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