This paper presents a system for soft human-robot handshaking, using a soft robot hand in conjunction witha lightweight and impedance-controlled robot arm. Using this system, we study how different factors influencethe perceived naturalness, and give the robot different personality traits. Capitalizing on recent findings regardinghandshake grasp force regulation, and on studies of the impedance control of the human arm, we investigate the roleof arm stiffness as well as the kinaesthetic synchronization of human and robot arm motions during the handshake.The system is implemented using a lightweight anthropomorphic arm, with a Pisa/IIT Softhand wearing a sensorizedsilicone glove as the end-effector. The robotic arm is impedance-controlled, and its stiffness changes according todifferent laws under investigation. An internal observer is employed to synchronize the human and robot arm motions.Thus, we simulate both active and passive behaviour of the robotic arm during the interaction.Using the system, studies are conducted where 20 participants are asked to interact with the robot, and then rate theperceived quality of the interaction using Likert scales. Our results show that the control of the robotic arm kinaestheticbehaviour does have effect in the interaction with the robot, in term of its perceived personality traits, responsivenessand human-likeness. Our results pave the way towards robotic systems that are capable of performing human-robotinteractions in a more human-like manner, and with personality.
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