Making a Robot that Hugs with Alexis Block

Alexis Block is a PhD Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems. She’s also the creator of HuggieBot and now HuggieBot 2.0 which have allowed her to do groundbreaking research in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI).

Alexis joins Mike Palmer on this episode to talk through her recent paper on The Six Commandments of Robot Hugging. We explore what got Alexis to this point in her research and what she’s learned about human behavior through her research. We touch on the impact of the pandemic on her research and examine what’s next on the horizon as she studies how humans and robots interact in highly personal and emotionally supportive ways.

It’s a futuristic and insightful conversation that you won’t want to miss.

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Episode References

Block, A. E., Christen, S., Gassert, R., Hilliges, O., & Kuchenbecker, K. J. (2021). The Six Hug Commandments: Design and Evaluation of a Human-Sized Hugging Robot with Visual and Haptic Perception. Proceedings of the 2021 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, 380–388. https://doi.org/10.1145/3434073.3444656