Research of Geminoid
We are conducting various experiments in order to determine how Geminoids can affect people. One of these involves a phenomenon in which an operator controlling a Geminoid feels as if they have actually become the Geminoid. Many ATR employees who controlled a Geminoid reported that they felt like they had been touched directly when someone touched the Geminoid. To explore this effect, we conducted an experiment in which we asked participants to control a Geminoid and then injected a needle into the Geminoid’s hand.
As a result, we found that participants experienced a subjective feeling as if they themselves had been given an injection, accompanied by physiological responses. This research showed not just that the Geminoid can exert a strong influence on people, but also provided a new perspective on a previously studied phenomenon, the Rubber Hand Illusion.
Other topics include construction of subjective embodied sensation map and validating the Facial Feedback Hypothesis using Geminoids.
In addition to laboratory experiments, we are conducting field experiments in which we place a Geminoid in real world environments and observe people’s reactions. For example, we set up a Geminoid for one month in a cafe outside of Japan which had no connection to robots or androids and observed visitor’s behaviors. Every day, Dr. Ishiguro operated the Geminoid HI-2 from Japan, as well as having meetings with researchers at the cafe, establishing a “near future” setting.
As a result, we observed that many visitors passed by without noticing the Geminoid. As well, due to Dr. Ishiguro’s daily conversations with people, people reported having “made friends”. This experiment suggested the possibility for Geminoids to become adopted as a next-generation telepresence medium.