Phobot - the HRI2008 Student Design Competition winner!

Meet Phobot!

Phobot is a small proof-of-concept, affective robot. Phobot is a phobic robot, who's very scared of certain objects, and robots in particular. Phobot is meant as a concept exploring possible support tools for kids with object or location-related phobias. Phobot and the phobic child will help each other overcome fears by following exposure program steps. If you help Phobot out, gradually exposing the little robot to bigger and bigger robots, Phobot will overcome its fears.

Phobot's emotions

Phobot can be scared, curious or a little sad. Phobot expresses emotional by facial expression, a changing heart beat, movement, posture and sound. Phobot recognises scary objects, panics and then needs to be coached to re-approach the object by holding its hand and speaking softly. The child in turn can express his or her emotions to Phobot using a 'fear thermometer'.

The Phobot concept has been implemented using Lego Mindstorms NXT, an additional Codatex RFID sensor and programmed using the Mindstorms software. RFID, sound and touch sensors have been used to achieve interaction with the user.

Phobot has been designed by Henriette Cramer, Nicander Kemper, Anne Zwijnenburg (University of Amsterdam's Human Computer Studies lab) and Ork de Rooij (University of Amsterdam's ISLA lab).

The Phobot poster which explains the concept more extensively can be found here. Check out the movie demos on the demos & details page.

Phobot is the winner of the Human-Robot Interaction 2008 Student Design Competition!

Check the media coverage page for movies of our presentation at HRI'08 and links.

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