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The distant gardener: what conversations in the Telegarden reveal about human-telerobotic interaction

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5 Author(s)
Kahn, P.H. ; Dept. of Psychol., Washington Univ., Seattle, WA, USA ; Friedman, B. ; Alexander, I.S. ; Freier, N.G.
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We investigated human interaction with a specific telerobotic installation: The Telegarden, a community garden that allows users to plant and tend seeds in a remote garden by controlling a robotic arm through a Web-based interface. Based on an analysis of 3 months of associated online chat (347 participants, 16,504 postings), results showed the following: (t) conversations focused on nature (13%), technology (22%), and human relationships (69%); (2) patterns of conversation appeared to follow patterns of physical activity in the telegarden; (3) as individual participation in the chat room increased, conversation decreased about nature and technology within the Telegarden and increased about nature and technology beyond the Telegarden; and (4) users did not personify the robot arm (or robotic installation). Discussion focuses on the emerging possibilities in human-robotic interaction of using telerobotics instrumentally to help foster healthy, life-affirming relationships with the natural world.

Published in:

Robot and Human Interactive Communication, 2005. ROMAN 2005. IEEE International Workshop on

Date of Conference:

13-15 Aug. 2005