Beep, boop, does not compute.


This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.


From food delivery to companionship, robots are now part of our daily lives. But they’re far from perfect. So how can we make them better partners?


University of Florida robotics expert Eakta Jain found an unlikely teacher: horses. 


Many horses are able to find their way home, often without tons of training! But it all starts with forging a working relationship. The researchers believed robots could learn in a similar way over time, given the right information. 


So they gathered observations and surveys for a year at a horse training facility. And? Their work revealed initial interactions, like a first impression, may be the key. They hope to establish trust and respect with robots in the same way as with horses – through non-verbal cues and expressions.


Understanding the stages of training and interaction with horses may inform the development of better, safer robots! 


So saddle up PARDNER, it’s time to train some robots! Yeehaw!


Reference (APA-style)

Eakta Jain and Christina Gardner-McCune. 2023. Horse as Teacher: How human-horse interaction informs human-robot interaction. In Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’23). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 536, 1–13.