Disney Research


This paper describes the development of a system for lifelike gaze in human-robot interactions using a humanoid Audio-AnimatronicsĀ® bust. Previous work examining mutual gaze between robots and humans has focused on technical implementation. We present a general architecture that seeks not only to create gaze interactions from a technological standpoint, but also through the lens of character animation where the fidelity and believability of motion is paramount; that is, we seek to create an interaction which demonstrates the illusion of life. A complete system is described that perceives persons in the environment, identifies persons-of-interest based on salient actions, selects an appropriate gaze behavior, and executes high, fidelity motions to respond to the stimuli. We use mechanisms that mimic motor and attention behaviors analogous to those observed in biological systems including attention habituation, saccades, and differences in motion bandwidth for actuators. Additionally, a subsumption architecture allows layering of simple motor movements to create increasingly complex behaviors which are able to interactively and realistically react to salient stimuli in the environment through subsuming lower levels of behavior. The result of this system is an interactive human-robot experience capable of human-like gaze behaviors.

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