Blow me to Bermuda


This research constitutes an initial investigation into key issues which arise in designing a flying humanoid robot (FHR), with a focus on human-robot interaction (HRI). The humanoid form offers an interface for natural communication; flight offers excellent mobility. Combining both will yield companion robots capable of approaching, accompanying, and communicating naturally with humans in difficult environments. Problematic is how such a robot should best fly around humans, and what effect a robot’s flight will have on a person in terms of non-verbal communicative cues. To answer these questions, we propose an extension to existing proxemics theory (“z-proxemics”) and predict how typical humanoid flight motions will be perceived (“z-kinesics”). Data obtained from participants watching animated sequences are analyzed to check our predictions. The paper also reports on the building of a flying humanoid robot, which we will use in interactions. […]

One possible design for a flying humanoid robot (FHR): “Angel”, a soft, safe companion robot intended for playful and affectionate interactions who a) approaches b) entertains, c) accompanies and guides, and d) serves humans.

{ IEEE | PDF }