DESIGNING ROBOTIC ARTEFACTS WITH USER- AND EXPERIENCE-CENTRED PERSPECTIVES
Robots of varying shapes and sizes are slowly gaining popularity in daily life. Examples of recent consumer products range from iRobot’s Looj gutter cleaner to Pleo, a robotic pet dinosaur. Research also contributes to growth in this area, giving focus to industrial robots, service robots and interactive sculptural artworks, to list but a few broad areas. Indeed, many of the latest robotic appliances appear to present entirely new possibilities for human-machine interaction.
Given this backdrop, this workshop will focus on how to relate current theories and practices in HCI with the developments in robotics and human-robot interaction. Contributions will be encouraged that address a broad range of themes including but not limited to the roles of embodiment, sustainable interaction, and contextual and social factors.
Participants will be asked to give emphasis to topics that are commonly absent in mainstream HCI such as machine movement, autonomy, anthropomorphism, embodied affect, sensor and actuator interaction, environmental issues and issues concerned more generally with the physical form and aesthetics of machines.
Relevance to the field
Contemporary research into robotics and HRI have several interesting intersections with current HCI research focusing on user- and experience-oriented issues (e.g. Bødker, 2006; Harrison, Tatar et al. 2007), part of third wave HCI.
Interacting with robot technology makes explicit some of the topics that have become increasingly discussed in HCI in recent years, including aesthetics, affective, embodied action, mobility, and situated and contextual aspects of human activity. These developments appear particularly relevant vis-à-vis robotics, as it seems much of the current research in HRI suffers from some of the difficulties regularly criticised in third wave HCI, e.g.:
Interaction viewed largely as a matter of mimicking human-human communication, with focus on humanoid and zoomorphic technology;
User studies concerned primarily with psychological factors, language processing, reasoning and affect;
Technology explorations solely focused on de-contextualised (inter)action (e.g., bi-manual interaction, trained motor action, navigation in space, etc.);
Research primarily targeting application domains where efficiency and productivity are paramount rather than examining a broader range of reasons for participating in activity.
As well as building on the developments in third wave HCI (and with the obvious association the NordiCHI conference has with Scandinavia), we will also encourage workshop participants to draw and reflect on robotics and HRI with respect to the now established “Scandinavian tradition” of HCI. By the Scandinavian tradition, we refer to practices such as participatory design (e.g. Ehn 1988), the increased acknowledgement of HCI as a design-oriented field of study (Fällman 2003; Löwgren and Stolterman 2004), and the view of interactive systems as part in a larger activity framework (e.g. Bødker 1991; Kaptelinin and Cole 2002).
In short, we hope the workshop to bring together some of the established and increasingly popular areas of HCI with recent trends in robotics. Not only do we see this as a means to directly contribute to HRI, but also as a way to reflect on HCI and its evolving status as a progressive research field.
Outcome of the workshop
Primarily, through contributions from a diverse range of participants, the aim of this workshop is to open up a space for taking robot design seriously in HCI. As we have noted, we will encourage participants to reflect on where recent developments in HCI intersect with HRI and how such intersections might lead to new research possibilities. An additional goal is to further cement the community of researchers undertaking related work on robotics and everyday life.
More practically, the workshop should provide an understanding of a selection of methods and techniques that can be used to design robots and other actuated physical interactive artefacts from a user-centred or experience-centred perspective. This includes approaches of participatory design, industrial design, as well as existing technical approaches to robot design.
Description of activities planned
Morning session with presentations of position papers and afternoon session with group discussions on themes extracted from the position paper presentations. Discussions will be encouraged on theoretical and methodological aspects of physical and embodied interaction, e.g.:
Methods that specifically address the design of physical interaction
User-centred design of robotic products, how and why?
Studies of interaction with moving physical artefacts
Potential areas for novel robotic services or products
How robotic movement and behaviour affect interaction and experience
How physical appearance of technology affects interaction and experience
The role of anthropomorphism why it might be important for design
Social and spontaneous action around or with robots
The workshop will end with group work presentations and discussion of potential developments that are found especially relevant. The exact structure for presentations and group activities will be set nearer to the date of the workshop.
Bødker, S. (1991). Activity theory as a challenge to systems design. Information Systems Research: Contemporary Approaches and Emergent Traditions. H. Nissen, H. Klein and R. Hirschheim, North Holland: 551-564.
Bødker, S. (2006). When second wave HCI meets third wave challenges. NordiCHI 2006, Oslo, Norway, ACM.
DiSalvo, C., F. Gemperle, et al. (2003). The Hug: An Exploration of Robotic Form for Intimate Communication. RO-MAN 03.
Ehn, P. (1988). Work-Oriented Design of Computer Artifacts, Arbetslivscentrum.
Fällman, D. (2003). Design-oriented Human-Computer Interaction. CHI2003, ACM Press.
Harrison, S., D. Tatar, et al. (2007). The Three Paradigms of HCI. alt.chi.
Kaptelinin, V. and M. Cole (2002). Individual and Collective Activities in Educational Computer Game Playing. CSCL2: Carrying Forward the Conversation. T. Koschman, R. Hall and N. Miyake, Lawrence Erlbaum.
Löwgren, J. and E. Stolterman (2004). Thoughtful Interaction Design, MIT Press.
Suchman, L. (1987). Plans and Situated Actions, Cambridge University Press.
Ueki, A., M. Kamata, et al. (2007). Tabby: designing of coexisting entertainment content in everyday life by expanding the design of furniture. Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, ACE '07.