Expanding the Interaction Repertoire of a Social Drone: Physically Expressive Possibilities of a Perched BiRDe

Ori Fartook, Karon MacLean, Tal Oron-Gilad, Jessica R. Cauchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The field of human–drone interaction (HDI) has investigated an increasing number of applications for social drones, all while focusing on the drone’s inherent ability to fly, thus overpassing interaction opportunities, such as a drone in its perched (i.e., non-flying) state. A drone cannot constantly fly and a need for more realistic HDI is needed, therefore, in this exploratory work, we have decoupled a social drone’s flying state from its perched state and investigated user interpretations of its physical rendering. To do so, we designed and developed BiRDe: a Bodily expressIons and Respiration Drone conveying Emotions. BiRDe was designed to render a range of emotional states by modulating its respiratory rate (RR) and changing its body posture using reconfigurable wings and head positions. Following its design, a validation study was conducted. In a laboratory study, participants ((Formula presented.)) observed and labeled twelve of BiRDe’s emotional behaviors using Valence and Arousal based emotional states. We identified consistent patterns in how BiRDe’s RR, wings, and head had influenced perception in terms of valence, arousal, and willingness to interact. Furthermore, participants interpreted 11 out of the 12 behaviors in line with our initial design intentions. This work demonstrates a drone’s ability to communicate emotions even while perched and offers design implications and future applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-280
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • Affective computing
  • Human–drone interaction
  • Interaction design
  • Prototype
  • User study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • General Computer Science
  • Social Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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