I Can See it in Your Eyes: Gaze towards a Robot as an Implicit Cue of Uncanniness and Task Performance in Long-term Interactions

Long-term human-robot interactions have been widely researched; however, there is a lack of methods to evaluate people’s perception and engagement with those systems. Questionnaires and interviews may be biased and decrease human involvement. Hence, a recent study investigates the possibility of using gaze patterns as a suitable metric.

Image credit: Makia Minich via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

During the experiment, participants wearing eye-tracking glasses got involved in an interactive session with a robot and self-reported their perception and engagement with it. The results show that mutual gaze towards a robot was a negative predictor of uncanniness during a social chat.

During joint tasks, which involved tangible artifacts, the best predictor of involvement was the gaze focused on the object of shared attention and not on the robot itself. These findings show that the gaze can be used as an indicator of people’s perception of robots.

Over the past years, extensive research has been dedicated to developing robust platforms and data-driven dialogue models to support long-term human-robot interactions. However, little is known about how people’s perception of robots and engagement with them develop over time and how these can be accurately assessed through implicit and continuous measurement techniques. In this paper,

CES 2021: All of the business tech news you need to know

Don’t miss TechRepublic’s CES 2021 coverage, which includes product announcements from Lenovo, Samsung, LG, and Dell about PCs, laptops, software, robots, monitors, and TVs.

Image: Sarah Tew/CNET

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CES 2021 is all-digital for the first time ever. The event runs from Monday, January 11 to Thursday, January 14. CES has always been one of the leading tech events each year and, despite being an online-only event in 2021, thousands of products are expected to be announced. 

There are six top trends to watch for at CES 2021, according to TechRepublic’s Editor-in-Chief Bill Detwiler, Associate Managing Editor Teena Maddox, and UK Editor-in-Chief Steve Ranger. Several visionary tech and industry leaders are expected to deliver keynote speeches at CES 2021 including Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg, General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach, and more. 

TechRepublic will be reporting on all of the CES 2021 tech news that business pros need to know. Keep checking this article for our latest CES 2021 coverage. 

SEE: CES 2021: The big trends for business (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature)

Must-see CES 2021 photo galleries

Photos: Best sleep solutions at CES 2021

‘Bespoke’ analysis of DNA packaging sheds light on the intricacies of the fundamental process

Researchers from Skoltech and their colleagues have optimized data analysis for a common method of studying the 3D structure of DNA in single cells of a Drosophila fly. The new approach allows the scientists to peek with greater confidence into individual cells to study the unique ways DNA is packaged there and get closer to understanding this crucial process’s underlying mechanisms.

The paper was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Image credit: Pixabay (Free Pixabay license)

The reason a roughly two-meter-long strand of DNA fits into the tiny nucleus of a human cell is that chromatin, a complex of DNA and proteins, packages it into compact but very complex structures. To study the way DNA is packaged, researchers worldwide have developed so-called chromosome conformation capture (3C) techniques, the most efficient of which is called Hi-C. Hi-C essentially catalogs all interacting fragments of a DNA strand via high-throughput sequencing.

Therein lies the problem, however: to work, Hi-C needs tens of micrograms of DNA, which means millions of cells, each with its unique spatial organization of chromatin, have to be averaged to get a snapshot that will inevitably miss some peculiarities of DNA packaging in single cells. Much like the ‘average

Top 6 trends to watch for at CES 2021

Find out what big tech news is expected at the all-digital CES 2021 this week.

This year’s CES is all virtual, but there will still be plenty of cool technology on display during the event, which runs from Jan. 11-14.

Last year at CES 2020, there were 4,419 exhibiting companies and 171,268 attendees. This year, there’s less than half that number of exhibitors, with 1,967, and many companies that take up a lot of exhibit space such as Google, Ford, Toyota, Honda and Blackberry aren’t even participating in CES 2021. The companies that are participating however, will be showcasing lots of innovative new products despite the event’s all-digital format.

TechRepublic’s Editor-in-Chief Bill Detwiler, Associate Managing Editor Teena Maddox and UK Editor-in-Chief Steve Ranger talked to Reporter Karen Roby to discuss the top trends to look for at CES in this most unusual of years.

SEE: Gartner’s top tech predictions for 2021 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Trend 1: Health, wellness and workplace safety

As offices reopen around the world, and vaccinations are made available to everyone, public spaces will reopen at a greater pace. Technology vendors, even ones that have never played in this space before, are introducing products and services

Stem cell treatment corrects skull shape and restores brain function in mouse model of childhood disorder

Scientists regenerate parts of the skull affected by craniosynostosis, a common birth defect.

Using stem cells to regenerate parts of the skull, scientists corrected skull shape and reversed learning and memory deficits in young mice with craniosynostosis, a condition estimated to affect 1 in every 2,500 infants born in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The only current therapy is complex surgery within the first year of life, but skull defects often return afterward. The study, supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), could pave the way for more effective and less invasive therapies for children with craniosynostosis. The findings were published in Cell. NIDCR is part of the National Institutes of Health.

A stem cell-based treatment given to young mice with craniosynostosis regenerated the flexible joints between skull bones and restored skull shape and size (right), compared to untreated animals (left), as shown in this 3D rendering. Image credit: Amanda Frataccia, USC

“This is a pivotal study demonstrating both structural regeneration and functional restoration in an animal model of craniosynostosis, said Lillian Shum, PhD, director of NIDCR’s Division of Extramural Research. “It holds great potential for translation to

How to create a new database with RavenDB

Jack Wallen shows you how easy it is to create a NoSQL database with RavenDB.

Must-read developer content

RavenDB is a cross-platform document-oriented, NoSQL database server with a range of features that would make any enterprise-level developer or admin giddy. RavenDB was designed especially for the .NET/Windows platform, but getting it up and running on a Linux server is an outstanding pathway to success. 

Like many NoSQL databases, RavenDB includes a well-designed GUI that makes working with those massive collections of data much easier than you might think. Before you can work with the data, you must first create a database to hold said data. Fortunately, RavenDB makes this easy as well. 

Let me show you. 

SEE: Microservices: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How to create a new RavenDB database

  1. Log in to your RavenDB dashboard and click Databases. 
  2. In the resulting window, click New Database. 
  3. Give your new database a name that is any combination (less than 128 characters) of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and can contain the special characters “-“,”_”, and “.”. 
  4. Once you have your name set, you can configure the Replication factor. If this is a stand-alone RavenDB server, your Replication factor will be
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