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Affective Computing for Human-Robot Interaction Research: Four Critical Lessons for the Hitchhiker.

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Churamani, Nikhil 


Social Robotics and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) research relies on different Affective Computing (AC) solutions for sensing, perceiving and understanding human affective behaviour during interactions. This may include utilising off-the-shelf affect perception models that are pre-trained on popular affect recognition benchmarks and directly applied to situated interactions. However, the conditions in situated human-robot interactions differ significantly from the training data and settings of these models. Thus, there is a need to deepen our understanding of how AC solutions can be best leveraged, customised and applied for situated HRI. This paper, while critiquing the existing practices, presents four critical lessons to be noted by the hitchhiker when applying AC for HRI research. These lessons conclude that: (i) The six basic emotions categories are not always relevant in situated interactions, (ii) Affect recognition accuracy (%) improvement as the sole goal is inappropriate for situated interactions, (iii) Affect recognition may not generalise across contexts, and (iv) Affect recognition alone is insufficient for adaptation and personalisation. By describing the background and the context for each lesson, and demonstrating how these lessons have been compiled from the various studies of the authors, this paper aims to enable the hitchhiker to successfully leverage AC solutions for advancing HRI research.



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The 32nd IEEE International Conference on Robot & Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN 2023)

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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R030782/1)
Google Initiated Grant (GIG)