Opening encounters are an integral element of everyday social interaction and are essential for forming and maintaining social relationships between people. We present an abstract non-humanoid robotic object called the Greeting Machine, designed to communicate positive and negative social cues in the context of opening encounters. The design includes a small ball rolling on a larger dome, with a custom gear and lever mechanism that supports a variety of subtle movements. Gestures were designed with movement experts and were evaluated using a physical first-person qualitative study. Our findings reveal that an abstract robot designed with no specific metaphor can effectively take part in opening encounters. Furthermore, a minimal brief movement, designed as an Approach or Avoid gesture, may be enough to evoke positive and negative experiences. The ability to create opening encounters with low Degree of Freedom abstract robots is promising, both due to the low complexity, low cost, and design flexibility of such devices and due to the possible generalization of the Approach and Avoid gestures for a variety of morphologies.

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