Weiss, A., Igelsboeck, J., Calinon, S., Billard, A. and Tscheligi, M. (2009)
Teaching a Humanoid: A User Study on Learning by Demonstration with HOAP-3
In Proc. of the IEEE Intl Symp. on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (Ro-Man), Toyama, Japan, pp. 147-152.


This article reports on the results of a user study investigating the satisfaction of naive users conducting two learning by demonstration tasks with the HOAP-3 robot. The main goal of this study was to gain insights on how to ensure a successful as well as satisfactory experience for naive users. Participants performed two tasks: They taught the robot to (1) push a box, and to (2) close a box. The user study was accompanied by three pre-structured questionnaires, addressing the users' satisfaction with HOAP-3, the user's affect toward the robot following from the interaction, and the user's attitude towards robots. Furthermore, a retrospective think aloud was conducted to gain a better understanding of what influences the users' satisfaction in learning by demonstration tasks. The results stress that learning by demonstration is a promising approach for naive users to learn the interaction with a robot, as a high task completion and final satisfaction rate could be observed. Moreover, the short term interaction with HOAP-3 led to a positive affect higher than the normative average on half of the female users.

Bibtex reference

  author = "A. Weiss and J. Igelsboeck and S. Calinon and A. Billard and M. Tscheligi",
  title = "Teaching a Humanoid: {A} User Study on Learning by Demonstration with {HOAP}-3",
  booktitle = "Proc. {IEEE} Intl Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication ({Ro-Man})",
  location="Toyama, Japan",


Usability study conducted in collaboration with ICT&S, University of Salzburg.

"Hi my name is Hoap, I can learn to do a lot of things, just show me a task card and I will be happy to learn how to do it". Imagine you are working at an assembly line in a big fabrication plant. A new robot is introduced, which should support you in solving tasks. You would teach the robot specific motions by demonstrating them and the robot will repeat the learnt motion. Are the learning abilities of already developed humanoid robots intuitive enough that novice users can handle them? This video shows some insightful and funny situations from a user study conducted in August 2008 in collaboration of the ICT&S Center (University of Salzburg) and the LASA EPFL Lausanne in the framework of the FP6 project ROBOT@CWE: Advanced robotic systems in future collaborative working environments. In this user study twelve participants had to conduct two "learning by demonstration tasks" with the Hoap-3 robot. The study was split into two tasks: Teaching the robot to close a box and teaching the robot to push a box. The interaction with the robot was based on speech commands. Participants just had to follow the commands of the robot and answer to it with yes or no (or any other answer proposed by the robot). The main interest for the user study was to observe how novice users experience the collaboration with the robot and if their general attitude towards robotics change because of the interaction with Hoap-3. Thus, the user study started with two questionnaires on participants' general attitude towards robots, which the participants had to fill in before they even saw the robot. Afterwards participants conducted the two tasks with the robot. After performing each task participants were asked to state their thoughts and feelings about the interaction with Hoap-3 and on suggestions for improvements to make the interaction more natural and intuitive in the future (retrospective think aloud). All participants could complete the two tasks successfully and mostly to their personal satisfaction. One participant even stated: "It is a congenial robot, obedient, ready to learn, likes to talk and likes feedback".

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