J. Jørgensen. 2018. Appeal and Perceived Naturalness of a Soft Robotic Tentacle. In Proceedings of the Companion of the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Chicago, IL, USA, March 2018 (HRI'18), 2 pages.
J. Jørgensen. 2018. Perceptions of a Soft Robotic Tentacle in Interaction. In Proceedings of the Companion of the 2017 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Chicago, IL, USA, March 2018 (HRI'18), 1 page.
Soft robots have already been implemented in industry, but a number of applications "in the wild" have also been proposed. For many of these, human perceptions of soft robots will play a crucial role in facilitating and designing a desirable human-robot interaction. A primary benefit of soft robotics is increased safety through compliance [1, 2], but soft robots are also claimed to have a more natural and therefore pleasing aesthetic [3, 4].
To explore people's perceptions of soft robots, a simple platform for interaction was designed. The platform is built around a soft robotic tentacle that is pneumatically actuated with low-noise pumps and can bend in all directions around its axis. It moves on its own but can also be controlled by the user.
Two versions of the platform have been built (Fig. 1) - one is equipped with a publicly available tentacle design in pink , the other incorporates a blue fiber-reinforced tentacle designed by the author.
Both versions of the platform have been used for an interaction experiment. Detailed analyses of the collected data are still underway. Initial findings for the pink version include that the overall appeal of the robot was positively associated with its perceived naturalness. Moreover, it was found that the robot's appearance was rated significantly more negative when compared to the ratings of its movements and tactility.
 Rus and M.T. Tolley. 2015. Design, fabrication and control of soft robots. Nature. 521, 7553 (May 2015), 467-475. DOI:doi.org/10.1038/nature14543.
 R. Pfeifer, M. Lungarella, and F. Iida. 2012. The Challenges Ahead for Bio-inspired "Soft" Robotics. Commun. ACM. 55, 11 (Nov. 2012), 76-87. DOI:doi.org/10.1145/2366316.2366335.
 Rolf Pfeifer quoted in J. von Zitzewitz et al. 2013. Quantifying the Human Likeness of a Humanoid Robot. International Journal of Social Robotics. 5, 2 (Jan. 2013), 263-276. DOI:doi.org/10.1007/s12369-012-0177-4.
 J. Rossiter and H. Hauser. 2016. Soft Robotics - The Next Industrial Revolution?. IEEE Robotics Automation Magazine. 23, 3 (Sep. 2016), 17-20. DOI:doi.org/10.1109/MRA.2016.2588018.
 M. Borgatti. Silicone Robo-Tentacle (2013) Online: learn.adafruit.com/silicone-robo-tentacle