Gesture Based Research
For the gestures that I want to use in my robotic hand, first I need to make sure that none of them offend people. Therefore, to quickly gather some data I asked several people around the target market base of 18 -30 years old what gestures offended them, and in what context. Many of these gestures were deemed offensive but required more of the human body than just one hand like my robot. With a lack of body and other hand, many of these gestures are impossible or if attempted don’t look the same and aren’t offensive. For those gestures that can be done only two were an issue, with flipping the bird and using two fingers to represent ‘up yours’ were deemed offensive by some, however the context was when the gesture was directed at them by others, especially those they don’t know or when in an argument this gesture would insult them if done with intent. After asking whether these gestures done by a disembodied robotic arm would be as offensive, most participants responded with no, rather it would be humorous or novel to see, not offensive. There was nobody in my research group who would want a robot to not do these basic gestures due to a caused offense in this group.
Use of Research
Overall this showed me that it would be okay to use seemingly offensive gestures for my robot as they don’t come from a harmful place and is rather a novel method of interaction and shouldn’t offend anyone in the user group. The only potential issue is with second-hand viewers like children, however the nature of the concept doesn’t mix well with kids as the moving parts and many wires make the product fragile and susceptible to being broken, therefore in my project these gestures will be used to convey aggressive intent by the robot.
Update to Research
It is now week 13 and Lorna has just notified me that using the middle finger emoji in my branding of ‘hand signs’ for my portfolio could be unsuitable as school kids are attending the online exhibition. While the kids themselves might revel in the included ‘vulgar’ gestures, their parents would less than enthused. Rather than risk the concern, these gestures will be censored and not used in the robot, and more simple emoji notices will be used in the design (from middle finger to thumbs down on the site) in order to reduce the risk of possible offense to parents or guardians of the attending kids.
censorship week13 gestures