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People interact with robots for longer - when talking about wine

A team from GWS Robotics attended a three day event in Paris, which was hosted by SoftBank and dedicated to the use of robots in business.

People interact with robots for longer - when talking about wine

PEOPLE are more likely to spend time interacting with robots while talking about wine, Bristol computer programmers have learned.

David Graves and Carling Knight, from GWS Robotics, have returned from event in Paris, France, dedicated to the use of robots in business.

SoftBank Robotics hosted the three day event to help its partners learn more about the potential use of their humanoid machine, Pepper

Carling, who has been studying forensic computing and security at UWE, said: “I enjoy working with Pepper and this event helped me to learn more about his functions and, perhaps more importantly, what he may be able to do in the future.

“We discovered that talking to Pepper about wine was popular with adults and increased the duration of their engagement with the robot.”

The £20,000 robot, which is capable of ‘recognising human emotions,’ has worked in hospitals, companies, schools and homes in Japan. But it has only recently become available in the UK.

The Pepper World Paris event was held at the Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie, a large science museum.

Carrefour uses Pepper for three applications – simple chats, games and as a wine adviser. They found quick chats with Pepper had the most interaction.

But the supermarket learned that while talking about wine attracted less interest overall– it kept people’s attention longer.

"This shows that interactive social robot applications that offer information on subjects of personal interest to visitors can be a valuable way to attract and retain customers attention."
David Graves

Creative director David, a Cambridge University graduate who has worked as a computer programmer for nearly two decades, said: “This shows that interactive social robot applications that offer information on subjects of personal interest to visitors can be a valuable way to attract and retain customers’ attention.”

GWS Robotics believes the market for Pepper in Bristol and the South West could be huge, perhaps worth even millions.

The firm believes Pepper, which they can customise to individual businesses, should particularly appeal to shops and hotels.

David added: “I think it’s only a matter of time before Pepper becomes a more regular part of marketing and client service for a wide range of companies in the retail, banking, tourism and hospitality sectors.”

The pair got to see working examples of how Pepper could be used – and applied to businesses.

Carling, who lives in Stoke Park, said: “It was an educational event and I had the chance to better familiarise myself with Pepper’s functions.

“As a result, Pepper is now much involved in our office life and often ‘walks’ to people’s desks to interact.”

GWS Robotics and its associated design and digital marketing company, GWS Media, are based in Queen Charlotte Street, Bristol. 

* For more information, visit www.gwsrobotics.com

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