The Treasure Hunt App

A treasure hunt application, initially based on Edinburgh Academy’s yearly treasure hunt activity which forms part of the Geography curriculum was developed for primary school children aged 12-13. The activity requires a child to apply his/her map reading skills while an embodied agent presents the instructions and poses the questions. The application was developed for Android tablets and was used to explore the effect of feedback (neutral, happy and sad) on perception of the agent as well as the overall performance and experience of the children carrying out the treasure hunt activity.

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Fig 1: Neutral, happy and sad expressions

Together with a physical robot, the treasure hunt application was also used to investigate the effect of memory on a migrating agent (from the physical robot to the agent on the tablet) in terms of helping users achieve a pedagogical task and perceived friendliness. We found that the student’s ability to perform tasks increases when the agent is able to recall events from previous interactions even though it was deemed as less likeable and the instructions harder to understand.


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Fig 2: The Treasure Hunt Application


This application was later adapted for the Heriot-Watt University campus with a Halloween Theme. In this version, a user will follow clues presented by a non-empathic or an empathic agent to unlock Halloween related treasures. The user’s heart rate is monitored using a MIO Link wristband and used to estimate the user’s arousal which in turns influences the agent’s interventions. Here, we are investigating the effect of empathy on user performances and experiences.


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Fig 3: The Heriot-Watt Halloween Treasure Hunt App


Download the migration app, only installable on Android: