Social robots are robots that come close to animals and humans, interact and communicate with them. They reproduce characteristics of animals and humans in their behavior and appearance. They can be implemented both as hardware robots and as software robots. The SPACE THEA project should have already started in March 2020. Because of COVID-19 it had to be postponed. Now the master student Heiko Hofer and his supervisor, Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel (both School of Business FHNW), start with the preparatory work. In winter 2020/2021 and spring 2021 the programming of the voicebot is then carried out. SPACE THEA is designed to accompany astronauts to Mars and to show them empathy and emotions. In the best case, she should also be able to provide psychological counseling, for example, based on cases from the literature. The project will use findings from social robotics, but also from machine ethics. The results will be available by summer 2021.
Fig.: SPACE THEA
The University of Potsdam dedicates its current research to voices. The scientists – among them Dr. Yuefang Zhou and Katharina Kühne – are studying the first impression during communication. The survey website says: „The current study will last approximately 20 minutes. You will be asked some questions about the voice you hear. Please answer them honestly and spontaneously. There are no right or wrong answers; we are interested in your subjective perception. Just choose one out of the suggested alternatives.“ Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel, FHNW School of Business, has produced three of the samples and participates in the project. „Your responses will be treated confidentially and your anonymity will be ensured. Your responses cannot be identified and related to you as an individual, if you choose to leave your e-mail address at the end of the study this cannot be linked back to your responses. All responses will be compiled together and analysed as a group.“ The questionnaire can be accessed via www.soscisurvey.de/impress/.
Fig.: The effects of voices