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Conference Proceeding

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This paper describes our approach to the design and implementation of virtual Kawaii robots and spaces by Japanese and American university students using remote collaboration. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to change our planned 7-week collaboration from in-person to virtual with a resultant change in the target product of our collaboration from real robots to virtual robots. Based on our new plan, students designed virtual spaces with robot pairs, proposed evaluation items for the robot pairs, evaluated their designs, and analyzed the results. The students designed each robot pair with the goal that one robot would be more kawaii and the other would be less kawaii due to a variation in a single attribute such as shape or color. The evaluation instrument used adjective pairs that were suitable to evaluate the affective values of the robot pairs and the virtual spaces the robots occupied. Through the design experience, students learned a lot about Kawaii Engineering and affective evaluation, which gave them a deeper understanding of Japanese culture from the viewpoint of Kansei/Affective Engineering.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. OISE-1854255. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We thank all the participating students: K. Bautista, J. Blakey, C. Feng, W. Huang, S. Imura, K. Murayama, E. Spehlmann, and C. Wright. We also thank Prof. Nittono of Osaka University for his lecture.