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Researchers Create Robots That Can Determine Gender From Handshake


Researchers are developing a robot that is sensitive to human touch.

Researchers at ENSTA ParisTech are currently in the middle of creating emotion sensing robots that are able to pick up on social cues simply from shaking a human’s hand. In particular, the robots are able to figure out someone’s gender and personality simply by how their hand is positioned during a handshake.

And it turns out that the robots were pretty accurate when it came to reading human gender and emotions. In ENSTA’s experiment, the robots were able to accurately predict both the gender and how extroverted the person was a full 75% of the time.

So how does the robot do this?

According to TechXplore, the researchers started by collecting data based on how humans react to touch. They first created a model of handshaking that segmented handshakes into different categories — female, male, extrovert, or introvert — based on the arm’s stiffness, grasp of the shake, and the vibration during the handshake.

The researchers found that, for example, males apply more pressure during a handshake than females; however, both men and women apply less pressure when the handshake recipient is a woman. In addition, women also tend to shake hands for longer and have a lower vibrational frequency. Men, on the other hand, point their hands down during a handshake, while most women keep them relatively parallel to the floor.

First impressions are formed very quickly, and they tend to be based on physical appearance. While the global clothing and textile industry is currently booming with an estimated $2.5 trillion in worth, it’s no question that clothing makes a significant impact on a person’s appearance. However, the ENSTA researchers are trying to develop a technology wherein emotion and personality recognition can be determined without appearance as a factor.

In particular, the researchers are trying to help those who have Autistic Syndrome Disorder, as these individuals have a problem recognizing social stimuli in everyday situations. So, the researchers believe that by recognizing emotional responses via a handshake, there’s a possibility they can help autism sufferers be more social.
Professor Adriana Tapus from ENSTA ParisTech explains to The Daily Mail:

“If we can simulate a human like emotional response from a robot we can ensure a two-way relationship, benefiting the most vulnerable and isolated members of our society.”

As of right now, there’s no word on how soon these robots will be utilized.</br.