Well, this is delicate. But we're all grownups here, right? Let us proceed. Humans get turned on when feeling up robots.
A study from researchers at Stanford University reports that people respond to robots in a primitive, social way and that touching someone else's private parts apply to a robot's body parts as well.
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That could influence robot design and, it's not too far of a leap to imagine how this information could influence robots used for, um, well, certain kinds of pleasure.
Lead researcher Jamy Li, a PhD student in Stanford's Department of Communication, designed an experiment in which a small humanoid robot was programmed to instruct humans to touch it at various places on its body.
Volunteer human subjects, meanwhile, wore sensors that measured changes in the sympathetic nervous system. The sensors measured skin conductance, which is an indicator of physiological arousal.
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When the robot asked the human subjects - four female, six male - to touch its buttocks or genital areas, measurable spikes were registered in the skin sensors. In fact, over the course of 26 trials, researchers found that subjects became aroused when touching - and we quote - the "less accessible" regions. Scientific jargon, what can you do?
Some interesting details: The arousal response did not trigger when subjects were asked to simply point to the robotic erogenous zones. And for 90 percent of the participants, arousal increased the the closer they got to touching the regions in question. The robot used in the study, in case you're curious, was the not-particularly-sexy Aldebaran NAO.
The research is in line with a broader field of inquiry regarding social robots and human-machine interaction. While there has been a good deal of research involving robots touching humans, researcher say less is known about the responses of humans when they touch robots.
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"Our work shows that robots are a new form of media that is particularly powerful," the study concludes. "
The study will be presented at the annual conference of the International Communication Association in Japan, in June. The video below is only NSFW if you're working with any particularly sensitive Aldebaran NAO robots.