The BERTI robot has made its public debut at London's Science Museum today. BERTI, which stands for Bristol Elumotion Robotic Torso 1, has been designed to produce "credible conversational gestures" by its designers at Elumotion Ltd.
In order to investigate the above hypotheses participant studies are being conducted where naive users assess the gesture production system. An initial pilot study has been conducted to assess gesture features that are salient to the experimental participants; briefly these were timing, smoothness, natural posture at endpoints and gesture shape (trajectory). These features and other data from the pilot study are being used to inform the design and assessment of future experiments.In the first of the informed experiments we have carried out participants compared the performance of the robot with a video recording of their own performance. The robot performance rated highly in the four metrics despite a significantly poorer rating in similarity with each users performance; this is a promising initial result.
Take a look at this video of BERTI the gesturing robot in action.
(The gestures performed are (in order):
Open hand supine
Open hand: vertical palm
Open hand prone: vertical palm
Open hand prone