Modelling Multimodal Dialogues for Social Robots Using Communicative Acts

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Social Robots need to communicate in a way that feels natural to humans if they are to effectively bond with the users and provide an engaging interaction. Inline with this natural, effective communication, robots need to perceive and manage multimodal information, both as input and output, and respond accordingly. Consequently, dialogue design is a key factor in creating an engaging multimodal interaction. These dialogues need to be flexible enough to adapt to unforeseen circumstances that arise during the conversation but should also be easy to create, so the development of new applications gets simpler. In this work, we present our approach to dialogue modelling based on basic atomic interaction units called Communicative Acts. They manage basic interactions considering who has the initiative (the robot or the user), and what is his/her intention. The two possible intentions are either ask for information or give information. In addition, because we focus on one-to-one interactions, the initiative can only be taken by the robot or the user. Communicative Acts can be parametrised and combined in a hierarchical manner to fulfil the needs of the robot’s applications, and they have been equipped with built-in functionalities that are in charge of low-level communication tasks. These tasks include communication error handling, turn-taking or user disengagement. This system has been integrated in Mini, a social robot that has been created to assist older adults with cognitive impairment. In a case of use, we demonstrate the operation of our system as well as its performance in real human–robot interactions.
Dialogue management, Dialogue modelling, Human-robot interaction, Multimodal interaction
Bibliographic citation
Fernández-Rodicio, E., Castro-González, Á., Alonso-Martín, F., Maroto-Gómez, M., & Salichs, M. Á. (2020). Modelling Multimodal Dialogues for Social Robots Using Communicative Acts. Sensors, 20(12), 3440