The Huggie Project
A new undertaking of the technical department of the FHNW is a social robot called "Huggie" whose purpose it is to hug people. Possible areas of application would be a commercial setting, e.g. a shopping mall as well as schools, hospitals, retirement homes, prisons, or space flights.
Korucu Ümmühan & Stocker Leonie, 2020
Bachelor Thesis, Hochschule für Wirtschaft FHNW
Betreuende Dozierende: Oliver Bendel
Keywords: Huggie, social robot, hug, hugging, robotic hugs, humanoid, acceptance, survey, social isolation
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Hugging is a form of social interaction that significantly impacts the mental and the physical well-being. However, the access to physical touch might be limited, for example for elderly or ill people or during a pandemic like the current Corona crisis. A robot hugging humans could be a solution to this problem. This thesis aims to examine the degree of acceptance among the society towards robotic hugs and to find out how such a robot would have to be designed and which features it should possess in order to be perceived as an attractive hugging partner.
Empirical data was gathered through the conduction of an online survey consisting of 44 questions grouped into six categories. The target population of the survey were German-speaking European residents and overall, 287 people completed the questionnaire. The data was analysed by means of twelve hypotheses setting specific predictive statements about the potential result of the empirical research and allowing the authors to examine differences among groups on particular relationships or variables.
The results of the survey indicated that people have a positive attitude towards robots in general as robots are perceived as interesting and useful rather than unnecessary and disturbing. However, only a minority of the participants stated that they would accept a hug from a robot. A possible reason for this could be that for the majority of participants, a hug is an act of intimacy with a deeper meaning attached to it which is only being shared with selected persons. For a robot to be perceived as an attractive hugging partner, a human-like design including a face, eyes, a friendly look as well as the ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally is desired. However, an appearance being too realistic has a deterrent effect. Furthermore, an in-depth analysis of the data in relation to age and gender of the participants resulted in the discovery of interesting facts and differences. Overall, the findings contribute to a clearer picture about the appearance and the features Huggie should have in order to be accepted as a hugging counterpart.
Studiengang: Business Administration International Management (Bachelor)
Fachbereich der Arbeit: Andere