Scientists have found that robots could prove useful as mental wellbeing coaches for employees in offices. But the employees’ perceptions of how effective the robots are depends a lot on how they look. Researchers from the University of Cambridge conducted an ‘in-the-wild’ study in a tech consultancy firm where they used two different robots as wellbeing coaches. As many as 26 employees at the firm participated in the weekly robot-led wellbeing sessions for four weeks.
Interestingly, the participants who worked with a toy-like robot felt more of a connection with their coach than those who worked with a humanoid robot. Both robots had exact same voices, similar facial expressions and scripts for these sessions. But the vastly different physical appearances of the two robots changed the way.