|ASIMO is an advanced humanoid robot developed by Honda. Shown here at Expo 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
From this story in the Economist
Takayuki Kanda of the ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories in Kyoto says that collaborative, humanoid robots should generally be no larger than a six-year-old, a size most adults reckon they could overpower if necessary.
....It turns out, for example, that people are more trusting of robots that use metaphors rather than abstract language, says Bilge Mutlu....He has found that robots are more persuasive when they refer to the opinions of humans and limit pauses to about a third of a second to avoid appearing confused. Robots’ gazes must also be carefully programmed lest a stare make someone uncomfortable.
....When a person enters a room, robots inside should pause for a moment and acknowledge the newcomer, a sign of deference that puts people at ease....It is vital that a robot of this sort is not perceived as hostile, but as having its owner’s best interests at heart....One way to do this is to give robots a defining human trait—the ability to make mistakes. Maha Salem, a researcher under Dr Dautenhahn, programmed a humanoid Asimo robot, made by Honda, to make occasional harmless mistakes such as pointing to one drawer while talking about another. When it comes to household robots, test subjects prefer those that err over infallible ones, Dr Salem says.