As part of an intradepartmental grant provided by the UCF Department of Psychology, The Technology and Aging Lab (TAL) has recently acquired a Misty Robotics Misty II social robot. Over the coming year, this new robot will help the lab advance its research into social presence, robotic companionship, acceptance, and embodiment. Unlike our previous robots, Misty has improved hardware and is much more programmable to fit the needs of the lab’s current research lines. At the moment, the lab is working on programming and setup of the robot. Research studies with the robot should commence as early as mid-Fall 2021, with studies already planned through Summer 2022. Research participants will be able to interact with Misty II in studies dealing with social robot personality and parasocial presence, the effects of different kinds of embodiment and robotic behavior on social presence, and much more.
Jordan Sasser, a third-year Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology PhD program student, is currently the programming lead in the robot. Fernando Montalvo, a fifth-year student in the HFC program, is in charge of personality and behavioral design for Misty’s first research project on social presence. The lab’s research will help establish mechanisms through wish social robots can reach wider acceptance as both desired technology and social companions.