Accepted Paper:

Designing social robots: rethinking challenges and constraints of a participatory experience  


Núria Vallès-Peris (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Miquel Domènech (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Marta Díaz-Boladeras (Technical University of Catalonia)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation explores some of the complexities that have emerged during our experience in a participatory design process with children to develop a social robot. We offer an analytical framework to understand care and materiality emerged as determinat factors in our collaborative endeavour.

Paper long abstract:

Through the involvement of various actors and expertise, one of the aims of participatory design (PD) is a greater democratization of technological innovation. In this presentation, however, we explore some of the limits of PD regarding this desire of deeper democratization. We focus on some issues that have appeared along our experience in a PD process with children to develop a social robot designed for hospitalized children.

Beyond the complexities related to the methodology of the process, not few nor irrelevant, this presentation explores a kind of epistemological complexities that emerged during the PD and constrained the process. Specifically we discuss on how the participation of different actors, the implementation of objectives and the development of prototypes have been constrained by the epistemic cultures involved in the process. The relationship constellations among the different involved actors have created certain constrains and weaknesses that we want to explore here. Likewise, with this exercise we want to do a reflection about the challenges in deepening democratic procedures of technological innovation through participatory mechanisms.

Panel T156
Doing Social Robots by Other Means