Irony and sarcasm often loosen up situations and make people more accessible. Reeti, also known as Irony Man, shows that this can also work with a robot. The 30 centimeter robot from Augsburg combines casual facial expressions with dry humor.

“Think of a robot in the role of a lifestyle advisor that feels the user should be more active and has to convey this message without appearing rude” – ELISABETH ANDRÉ, University of Augsburg.


Irony Man should be as casual as possible and simplify access to the robotic companion. Particularly bad news should be conveyed better by including irony. The small bot appears to be extremely casual and casual and has usually been very well received in previous user tests.

The idea behind the Augsburg robot was that the scientists wanted to build a robot that would better reflect how humans speak in real life. The problem with Irony Man Reeti, however, is that he doesn’t know when it would be more tactful to remain silent.

““The robot is not yet able to determine whether and when there is a good moment to employ irony. […] It may happen that the robot generates a funny utterance, but the user is irritated.”” – Elisabeth André, University of Augsburg.

According to current research, as can be seen, for example, in Social Robots, users feel particularly comfortable when the robots are visible mechanical, but display human attributes, whether in appearance or behaviour.

Irony Man is a first step to make the robots even more human-like, not only in their appearance, but also in their way of conversation. The future will show whether this sort of robot will prevail.



Post picture: HCM-Lab, Augsburg University


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