As a young and emerging field in social human–robot interaction (HRI), semantic-free utterances (SFUs) research has been receiving attention over the last decade. SFUs are an auditory interaction means for machines that allow emotion and intent expression, which are composed of vocalizations and sounds without semantic content or language dependence. Currently, SFUs are most commonly utilized in animation movies (e.g., R2-D2, WALL-E, Despicable Me), cartoons (e.g., “Teletubbies,” “Morph,” “La Linea”), and computer games (e.g., The Sims) and hold significant potential for applications in HRI. SFUs are categorized under four general types: Gibberish Speech (GS), Non-Linguistic Utterances (NLUs), Musical Utterances (MU), and Paralinguistic Utterances (PU). By introducing the concept of SFUs and bringing multiple sets of studies in social HRI that have never been analyzed jointly before, this article addresses the need for a comprehensive study of the existing literature for SFUs. It outlines the current grand challenges, open questions, and provides guidelines for future researchers considering to utilize SFU in social HRI.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-85
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • Vocal emotion expression, Human-robot interaction, Expressive gibberish speech, Speech without semantic information, emotional speech synthesis

ID: 22827127