Human Body Pose Interpretation and Classification for Social Human-Robot Interaction

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12369-011-0099-6

Cite this article as:
McColl, D., Zhang, Z. & Nejat, G. Int J of Soc Robotics (2011) 3: 313. doi:10.1007/s12369-011-0099-6


A novel breed of robots known as socially assistive robots is emerging. These robots are capable of providing assistance to individuals through social and cognitive interaction. However, there are a number of research issues that need to be addressed in order to design such robots. In this paper, we address one main challenge in the development of intelligent socially assistive robots: The robot’s ability to identify human non-verbal communication during assistive interactions. In particular, we present a unique non-contact and non-restricting automated sensor-based approach for identification and categorization of human upper body language in determining how accessible a person is to the robot during natural real-time human-robot interaction (HRI). This classification will allow a robot to effectively determine its own reactive task-driven behavior during assistive interactions. Human body language is an important aspect of communicative nonverbal behavior. Body pose and position can play a vital role in conveying human intent, moods, attitudes and affect. Preliminary experiments show the potential of integrating the proposed body language recognition and classification technique into socially assistive robotic systems partaking in HRI scenarios.


Socially assistive robots Non-verbal communication 3D human body pose detection and classification Human-robot interaction 

Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media BV 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Autonomous Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical EngineeringState University of New York at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical and Industrial EngineeringUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.State University of New York at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

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