Helping people to train robots


ABB’s collaborative Small Parts Assembly robot YuMi needs people to train it to perform different tasks – however, most people don’t think that they can program a robot. ABB asked Innovia how it could help people feel more comfortable training and working with YuMi.


We showed people in a variety of technical roles how to train the robot and asked them to attempt a simple programming task. We simulated real-time chatbot responses to their attempts to teach the robot a new skill and see how they reacted to YuMi misunderstanding terms or showing humour and emotion. We learned what people thought the robot wouldn’t be able to do – this provided new directions for innovation.


Together with the client, we have written several conference submissions and journal articles on our multidisciplinary process. We created a set of qualitative-research training videos for the client team. We gave the client new perspectives on interactions between robots and humans, some new areas to explore, and insights into perceptions of robot abilities: “It’s fine if it makes me a cocktail when I get home, but it would be creepy if it decided to make me a Thai curry after watching me once!”

Helping people to train robots and adapting our research methods to remote working.