In a social setting, it is often beneficial to have a partner that
is alert of the environment and the circumstances and is able to communicate
information that otherwise does not come to our awareness. Typically, these
are human companions, however a robotic partner may be an alternate solution.
For a robotic partner to be successful, it must naturally interact with its
user, and be able to retrieve data and analyze its content. In this paper we
present Iolaus, a robotic partner for social settings. Iolaus can be
implemented as a robotic parrot perched on the user s shoulder, or as an
attentive companion similar to a seeing eye dog. When the user enters a new
social setting the robot can be asked and should attempt to answer questions
regarding people and surroundings, very similar to a human partner. In this
phase of the project, we are using the Sony Aibo robot dog to implement
Iolaus s information retrieval component demonstrating how a human-robot
interface can help the user access a vast amount of distributed information
and multimedia content in a socially acceptable manner.
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