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Associated Project: Robotic Blended Sonification

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This project intends to design and evaluate a robotic blended sonification system. The system will enable operators to collaborate with a collaborative robot arm without relying on visual feedback but instead using sound as a feedback modality.

There are two main expected benefits of taking this approach. First, it reduces the cognitive load of operators, opening up the potential for one operator to oversee more robots than would be possible with visual feedback. Even though augmented reality technology has been found very useful, e.g., for conveying robotic intent, research points to risks of overloading users with visual information, potentially distracting them from the task. Prior research shows that workers can effectively disregard sounds that are irrelevant to the situation at hand and tune into sounds that have distinct meaning to them. Second, the ability of workers to hear—and not hear—relevant sounds is established through experience with certain environments and mechanical systems, accumulating tacit knowledge.

The first step toward this is to construct a functional installation which can serve as a prototyping tool. As such, a main outcome of this project is an installation which will be set up to evaluate non-roboticists’ experiences of the sound and serve as a prototyping facilitation tool for further development.


The project will result in a functional installation which will serve as a basis for further research into this topic. The project will benefit the research field of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) by extending knowledge about robot sounds in human-robot interaction. Robot sound has received increasing interest throughout the past decade, particularly for designing sounds uttered or performed by robots, background sound, sonification, or masking consequential robot sound. This research will benefit the research field by contributing with a novel approach to utilising and designing with consequential robot sound.

This is expected to benefit industry by leveraging ability of workers to collaborate with more robots, which has the potential for increasing production capacity. This is a particularly imminent challenge given current workforce shortages. Furthermore, in follow-up research, this research has the potential benefit of supporting surgeons in cobotic surgery by providing some of the “lost” feedback from traditional surgical procedures.

Researchers involved

Associated Investigators

Australian Cobotics Centre Chief Investigators

Australian Cobotics Centre Research assistants


This project is funded through the QUT Centre for Robotics ECR Grant Scheme. It is a collaborative effort between Dr Stine Johansen and the two associated investigators.