Movement-Based Communication for Humanoid-Human Interaction

  • Giulio SandiniEmail author
  • Alessandra Sciutti
  • Francesco Rea
Reference work entry


Humans are very good at interacting and collaborating with each other. This ability is based on mutual understanding and is supported by a continuous exchange of information mediated only in minimal part by language. The majority of messages are covertly embedded in the way the two partners move their eyes and their body. It is this silent, movement-based flow of information that enables a seamless coordination. It occurs without the two partners’ awareness and the delays in the interaction, by providing the possibility to anticipate the needs and intentions of the partner. Humanoid robot, thanks to their shape and motor structure, could greatly benefit from becoming able to send analogous cues with their behaviors, as well as from understanding similar signals covertly sent by their human partners. In this chapter we will describe the main categories of implicit signals for interaction, namely, those driven by oculomotor actions and by the movement of the body. We will first discuss the neural systems supporting the understanding of these signals in humans, and we will motivate the centrality of these mechanisms for humanoid robotics. At the end of the chapter, the reader should have a clear picture of what is an implicit signal, where in the human brain it is encoded and why a humanoid robot should be able to send and read it in its human partners.



This work was supported by the European CODEFROR project (FP7-PIRSES-2013-612555). The authors thank Oskar Palinko, Alessia Vignolo, Nicoletta Noceti, Francesca Odone, Laura Patanè, and all the other collaborators for their support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulio Sandini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alessandra Sciutti
    • 2
  • Francesco Rea
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Robotics, Brain and Cognitive SciencesIstituto Italiano di TecnologiaGenoaItaly
  2. 2.Istituto Italiano di TecnologiaGenoaItaly

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