Published March 8, 2021 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Magic iCub: a Humanoid Robot Autonomously Catching Your Lies in a Card Game

  • 1. Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Science (RBCS), Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), DIBRIS
  • 2. Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Science (RBCS), Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)
  • 3. COgNiTive Architecture for Collaborative Technologies (CONTACT), Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT)


Games are often used to foster human partners’ engagement and natural behavior, even when they are played with or against robots. Therefore, beyond their entertainment value, games represent ideal interaction paradigms where to investigate natural human-robot interaction and to foster robots’ diffusion in the society. However, most of the state-of-the-art games involving robots, are driven with a Wizard of Oz approach. To address this limitation, we present an end-to-end (E2E) architecture to enable the iCub robotic platform to autonomously lead an entertaining magic card trick with human partners. We demonstrate that with this architecture a robot is capable of autonomously directing the game from beginning to end. In particular, the robot could detect in real-time when the players lied in the description of one card in their hands (the secret card). In a validation experiment, the robot achieved an accuracy of 88.2% (against a chance level of 16.6%) in detecting the secret card while the social interaction naturally unfolded. The results demonstrate the feasibility of our approach and its effectiveness in maintaining engagement of the players and entertaining the participants. Additionally, we provide evidence on the possibility to detect important measures of the human partner`s inner state such as cognitive load related to lie creation with pupillometry in a short and ecological game-like interaction with a robot.



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wHiSPER – investigating Human Shared PErception with Robots 804388
European Commission