Bidirectional Eye Contact for Human-Robot Communication


IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E88-D   No.11   pp.2509-2516
Publication Date: 2005/11/01
Online ISSN: 
DOI: 10.1093/ietisy/e88-d.11.2509
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Life-like Agent and its Communication)
eye contact,  gaze,  human-robot interface,  nonverbal behavior,  gesture recognition,  embodied agent,  

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Eye contact is an effective means of controlling human communication, such as in starting communication. It seems that we can make eye contact if we simply look at each other. However, this alone does not establish eye contact. Both parties also need to be aware of being watched by the other. We propose a method of bidirectional eye contact satisfying these conditions for human-robot communication. When a human wants to start communication with a robot, he/she watches the robot. If it finds a human looking at it, the robot turns to him/her, changing its facial expressions to let him/her know its awareness of his/her gaze. When the robot wants to initiate communication with a particular person, it moves its body and face toward him/her and changes its facial expressions to make the person notice its gaze. We show several experimental results to prove the effectiveness of this method. Moreover, we present a robot that can recognize hand gestures after making eye contact with the human to show the usefulness of eye contact as a means of controlling communication.