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Feel-Good Robotics: Requirements on Touch for Embodiment in Assistive Robotics


Beckerle, Philipp; Kõiva, Risto; Kirchner, Elsa Andrea; Bekrater-Bodmann, Robin; Dosen, Strahinja; Christ, Oliver; Abbink, David A; Castellini, Claudio; Lenggenhager, Bigna (2018). Feel-Good Robotics: Requirements on Touch for Embodiment in Assistive Robotics. Frontiers in Neurorobotics, 12:84.

Abstract

The feeling of embodiment, i.e., experiencing the body as belonging to oneself and being able to integrate objects into one's bodily self-representation, is a key aspect of human self-consciousness and has been shown to importantly shape human cognition. An extension of such feelings toward robots has been argued as being crucial for assistive technologies aiming at restoring, extending, or simulating sensorimotor functions. Empirical and theoretical work illustrates the importance of sensory feedback for the feeling of embodiment and also immersion; we focus on the the perceptual level of touch and the role of tactile feedback in various assistive robotic devices. We critically review how different facets of tactile perception in humans, i.e., affective, social, and self-touch, might influence embodiment. This is particularly important as current assistive robotic devices - such as prostheses, orthoses, exoskeletons, and devices for teleoperation-often limit touch low-density and spatially constrained haptic feedback, i.e., the mere touch sensation linked to an action. Here, we analyze, discuss, and propose how and to what degree tactile feedback might increase the embodiment of certain robotic devices, e.g., prostheses, and the feeling of immersion in human-robot interaction, e.g., in teleoperation. Based on recent findings from cognitive psychology on interactive processes between touch and embodiment, we discuss technical solutions for specific applications, which might be used to enhance embodiment, and facilitate the study of how embodiment might alter human-robot interactions. We postulate that high-density and large surface sensing and stimulation are required to foster embodiment of such assistive devices.

Abstract

The feeling of embodiment, i.e., experiencing the body as belonging to oneself and being able to integrate objects into one's bodily self-representation, is a key aspect of human self-consciousness and has been shown to importantly shape human cognition. An extension of such feelings toward robots has been argued as being crucial for assistive technologies aiming at restoring, extending, or simulating sensorimotor functions. Empirical and theoretical work illustrates the importance of sensory feedback for the feeling of embodiment and also immersion; we focus on the the perceptual level of touch and the role of tactile feedback in various assistive robotic devices. We critically review how different facets of tactile perception in humans, i.e., affective, social, and self-touch, might influence embodiment. This is particularly important as current assistive robotic devices - such as prostheses, orthoses, exoskeletons, and devices for teleoperation-often limit touch low-density and spatially constrained haptic feedback, i.e., the mere touch sensation linked to an action. Here, we analyze, discuss, and propose how and to what degree tactile feedback might increase the embodiment of certain robotic devices, e.g., prostheses, and the feeling of immersion in human-robot interaction, e.g., in teleoperation. Based on recent findings from cognitive psychology on interactive processes between touch and embodiment, we discuss technical solutions for specific applications, which might be used to enhance embodiment, and facilitate the study of how embodiment might alter human-robot interactions. We postulate that high-density and large surface sensing and stimulation are required to foster embodiment of such assistive devices.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:22 Jan 2019 10:13
Last Modified:01 Feb 2019 10:59
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-5218
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbot.2018.00084
PubMed ID:30618706
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant IDPP00P1_170511
  • : Project TitlePlasticity of the bodily self in a life span approach

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