Special Issue "Applications and Trends in Social Robotics"

A special issue of Electronics (ISSN 2079-9292). This special issue belongs to the section "Artificial Intelligence".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. María Malfaz
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Systems Engineering and Automation Carlos III University, Madrid, Spain
Interests: social robotics, human-robot interaction, decision-making, emotions
Dr. José Carlos Castillo
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Systems Engineering and Automation Carlos III University, Madrid, Spain
Interests: social robotics, computer vision, perception, activity detection, human-robot interaction
Dr. Álvaro Castro
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Systems Engineering and Automation Carlos III University, Madrid, Spain
Interests: social robots, assistive robotics, human-robot interaction, autonomous robots, decision making, multimodal dialogue management, robot expressiveness, artificial emotions
Dr. Fernando Alonso
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Systems Engineering and Automation Carlos III University, Madrid, Spain
Interests: social robots, assistive robotics, human-robot interaction, multimodal dialogue management, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, machine learning

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Social robots are intended to coexist with humans and engage in relationships that lead them to a better quality of life. The success of these relationships relies on a positive perception of the robots that can be achieved by their behavior through AI, computational models, or robot embodiments. This Special Issue aims to foster the development of innovative ideas, novel applications and relevant studies that contribute to the integration of social robots in our daily society.  

The Special Issue welcomes original contributions describing technically rigorous scientific and philosophical advances in the area of social robotics and AI: innovative ideas and concepts, new discoveries and improvements, and novel applications on advances in the social robotics technologies.

In addition, a series of workshops associated to “The Eleventh International Conference on Social Robotics” will be held in Madrid, Spain, on 26-29 November 2019. The authors of the papers that will be presented at these workshops about related topics are invited to submit their extended versions to this Special Issue after the conference. Submitted papers should be extended to the size of regular research or review articles, with at least a 50% extension of new results.  

The topics of interest include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Affective and cognitive sciences for socially interactive robots
  • Context awareness, expectation, and intention understanding
  • Control architectures for social robotics
  • Human augmentation, rehabilitation, and medical robots
  • Interaction and collaboration among robots, humans, and environments
  • Personal robots for the home
  • Robot applications in education, entertainment, and gaming
  • Robot ethics in human society
  • Robots that can adapt to different users
  • Robots to assist the elderly and persons with disabilities
  • Robots with personality
  • Safety in robots working in human spaces
  • Socially assistive robots to improve quality of life
  • Social acceptance and impact in the society
  • Socially appealing design methodologies
  • Real experiences with social robots
  • Assessing interaction in social robotics

Dr. María Malfaz
Dr. José Carlos Castillo
Dr. Álvaro Castro
Dr. Fernando Alonso
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Electronics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Distance Special Education Delivery by Social Robots
Electronics 2020, 9(6), 1034; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics9061034 - 23 Jun 2020
Abstract
The outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) has resulted in a significant disruption of almost all aspects of everyday life. Several governments around the world have adopted emergency actions to reduce spreading of the virus, which included suspension of non-essential [...] Read more.
The outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) has resulted in a significant disruption of almost all aspects of everyday life. Several governments around the world have adopted emergency actions to reduce spreading of the virus, which included suspension of non-essential activities and the implementation of social distancing practices. In our case, governmental measures have resulted in the suspension of our experimental protocol for testing the effectiveness of robot-based treatment of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared to conventional human (therapist)-based treatment. These circumstances led to an investigation of the potential of tele-consulting. This paper describes alternatives to implement synchronous and asynchronous therapeutic sessions for children already participating in the protocol, in order to reduce the negative effects of the strict cessation of the in-person sessions. The usefulness of our approach was assessed by recording the children’s and the parent’s satisfaction via questionnaires. In addition, we compare satisfaction between the synchronous and asynchronous sessions. The results show that the approach has been very satisfactory and useful for both children and parents, and that this was especially the case for the robot-based material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications and Trends in Social Robotics)
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Open AccessArticle
Imitating Human Emotions with a NAO Robot as Interviewer Playing the Role of Vocational Tutor
Electronics 2020, 9(6), 971; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics9060971 - 11 Jun 2020
Abstract
This paper proposes an intelligent system that can hold an interview, using a NAO robot as interviewer playing the role of vocational tutor. For that, twenty behaviors within five personality profiles are classified and categorized into NAO. Five basic emotions are considered: anger, [...] Read more.
This paper proposes an intelligent system that can hold an interview, using a NAO robot as interviewer playing the role of vocational tutor. For that, twenty behaviors within five personality profiles are classified and categorized into NAO. Five basic emotions are considered: anger, boredom, interest, surprise, and joy. Selected behaviors are grouped according to these five different emotions. Common behaviors (e.g., movements or body postures) used by the robot during vocational guidance sessions are based on a theory of personality traits called the “Five-Factor Model”. In this context, a predefined set of questions is asked by the robot—according to a theoretical model called the “Orientation Model”—about the person’s vocational preferences. Therefore, NAO could react as conveniently as possible during the interview, according to the score of the answer given by the person to the question posed and its personality type. Additionally, based on the answers to these questions, a vocational profile is established, and the robot could provide a recommendation about the person’s vocation. The results show how the intelligent selection of behaviors can be successfully achieved through the proposed approach, making the Human–Robot Interaction friendlier. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications and Trends in Social Robotics)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Four-Features Evaluation of Text to Speech Systems for Three Social Robots
Electronics 2020, 9(2), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics9020267 - 05 Feb 2020
Abstract
The success of social robotics is directly linked to their ability of interacting with people. Humans possess verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and, therefore, both are essential for social robots to get a natural human–robot interaction. This work focuses on the first of [...] Read more.
The success of social robotics is directly linked to their ability of interacting with people. Humans possess verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and, therefore, both are essential for social robots to get a natural human–robot interaction. This work focuses on the first of them since the majority of social robots implement an interaction system endowed with verbal capacities. In order to do this implementation, we must equip social robots with an artificial voice system. In robotics, a Text to Speech (TTS) system is the most common speech synthesizer technique. The performance of a speech synthesizer is mainly evaluated by its similarity to the human voice in relation to its intelligibility and expressiveness. In this paper, we present a comparative study of eight off-the-shelf TTS systems used in social robots. In order to carry out the study, 125 participants evaluated the performance of the following TTS systems: Google, Microsoft, Ivona, Loquendo, Espeak, Pico, AT&T, and Nuance. The evaluation was performed after observing videos where a social robot communicates verbally using one TTS system. The participants completed a questionnaire to rate each TTS system in relation to four features: intelligibility, expressiveness, artificiality, and suitability. In this study, four research questions were posed to determine whether it is possible to present a ranking of TTS systems in relation to each evaluated feature, or, on the contrary, there are no significant differences between them. Our study shows that participants found differences between the TTS systems evaluated in terms of intelligibility, expressiveness, and artificiality. The experiments also indicated that there was a relationship between the physical appearance of the robots (embodiment) and the suitability of TTS systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications and Trends in Social Robotics)
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