Personal space in human-robot interaction at work: Effect of room size and working memory load
Sprache des Titels:
A recent literature review on personal space in human-robot interaction identified a research gap for the influence of contextual factors. At the same time, psychological research on interpersonal distancing as well as theoretical considerations based on compensatory control models suggest the importance to consider these factors in robot path planning. To address this gap, we tested the effect of room size and working memory load on participants? comfort distance toward an approaching robot. In a preregistered 3x2 within-subject design, N = 72 participants were approached by a mobile manufacturing robot in a corridor with varying room size and with and without a cognitive secondary task. As dependent variables, comfort distance, arousal, and perceived control were measured. While room size and working memory load had no significant direct effect on comfort distance, participants felt higher arousal and lower control in smaller rooms and in conditions with high working memory load, which in turn caused larger comfort distances (indirect effect). With experience, comfort distances decreased. Based on the indirect effects, future studies should test the effect of more extreme manipulations on comfort distances. Robots should adapt their path planning by keeping larger distances toward human workers in stressful environments to avoid discomfort.