Social robot design taking cues from dog behavior

Next time you need help creating a friendly robot for a science project, be sure to use Fido. Robotic designers recently discovered that using man’s best friend in interactions with socially-equipped robots may have benefits in aiding in the development of future automaton.
Using a control group of 41 canines, researchers divvied up the pups into two groups: social and asocial. The dogs in the social group observed their owner and another human experimenter engaging in sociable behaviors, while those in the asocial group acted in a more robotic fashion.
The experiment involved pointing out the location of hidden food in the room. In the social group, the dog’s owner and the experimenter first interacted with each other like regular humans while the dog looked on. Then, a human-sized robot named the PeopleBot² was brought into the room. PeopleBot² went through the same sort of motions with the human experimenter just executed by using sociable behaviors on its customized "social" setting with the dog owner. After that, the dog was brought in to interact with the robot in the reverse order of the tasks performed.