Communicative Robot Signals: Presenting a New Typology for Human-Robot Interaction

  • Patrick Holthaus
  • Trenton Schulz
  • Gabriella Lakatos
  • Rebekka Soma-Jestilä


We present a new typology for classifying signals from robots when they communicate with humans. For inspiration, we use ethology, the study of animal behaviour and previous efforts from literature as guides in defining the typology. The typology is based on communicative signals that consist of five properties: the origin where the signal comes from, the deliberateness of the signal, the signal's reference, the genuineness of the signal, and its clarity (i.e., how implicit or explicit it is). Using the accompanying worksheet, the typology is straightforward to use to examine communicative signals from previous human-robot interactions and provides guidance for designers to use the typology when designing new robot behaviours.