RO-MAN is one of the most important international conferences in the field of Human Robot Interaction (HRI). At this year’s conference in Naples, we were able to present Navel to researchers internationally for the first time.
Navel’s eyes impressed the researchers the most. The liveliness and small saccade movements, the real eye contact create a whole new level of social interaction and user experience. This enables completely new research in the field of human-robot interaction. Some researchers already knew Navel from the Internet; but it is only when you actually physically face Navel that Navel’s unique three-dimensional eyes really come into their own. Even the researchers, who have been doing research in this area for decades, were personally and emotionally triggered to the point that they repeatedly sought eye contact with Navel.
It was great that Prof. Elisabeth André directly showed Navel and its new capabilities several times in her key note. Researchers from Robotics and Computer Science were also convinced by the hard facts regarding hardware and software architecture and the capabilities of the Python SDK. Researchers in social sciences and psychology like the ease of use via browser without coding necessities. In addition, we were able to gain some hints and feedback for the future development of Navel. Overall, we were able to get concrete purchase interests from numerous established international HRI researchers at RO-MAN for the first deliveries in spring 2023.
The organizing team around Prof. Silvia Rossi deserves a lot of credit for the great event, where there were also good opportunities and evening events to meet people in person. After all, social interaction is such an important basic need for people – even when interacting with robots.