The Importance and Challenges of Teaching Robots to Blink Naturally in Human-Robot Interactions.
Teaching robots to blink is difficult but important as it conveys attention and emotion in humans. Social roboticists have been studying both the physical and psychological properties of human blinking to match it in robots. The perceived human-likeness of a robot is significantly enhanced when it blinks as it facilitates human-robot interaction, makes the robot appear more intelligent and likeable. However, integrating natural-looking blinking into robots is technically challenging due to the subtlest of human movements required. A trade-off between the speed and sound of motorised blinking and the correct timing and duration of blinks is also needed to avoid making the robot look odd or disturbing. Disney Research has developed a research prototype for realistic robotic gaze with elements like motion curves of eyelids, and patented their system of robotic sensing and control of eye gaze to make it easy for animators to convey subtle emotion.