marcy regalado
marcy regalado ux designer

senior honors thesis


Improving Human-Robotic Interactions with Applied Human Factors Principles:

Robot Factors and Solutions in Tool Design

Baxter Collaborative Robot as the test subject participants engaged with.

Baxter Collaborative Robot as the test subject participants engaged with.


Robot Factors is an emerging term from research bridging theory and principles from Human Factors and human-robotic interactions. In today’s world, new technologies and tools have been introduced into the workplace that transfers mundane and repetitive tasks away from humans to robots. However, current technological advancements do not enable human-robot interactions that meet human perspectives and social, interactive expectations. Thus the goal of this research is to apply human factors principles to robot factors so that robots are considered as end-users during collaborative tasks for optimal human-robot interaction.

A survey was released to Tufts University Engineering undergraduate students, and Masters and Ph.D. candidates, where participants were asked to rank and scale design process steps, rank sorting process by feature, and levels of automation within each sorting process step for designing a tool to sort Legos into an NXT kit. Results showed priming had an influence on the ways in which participants ranked features in the sorting process of Legos, thus presorting physical feature of categories (i.e shape) of Legos for human condition, while robot and team conditions defaulted to “mechanical” features (i.e. efficiency, task). Supported by the literature review and interpretation from the data, a list of recommendations was created to highlight how to improve human-robot interactions by introducing “Robot Factors”. Key Words: human-robot interaction, human factors, robot factors, perception, stereotypes, robotics, tool design.