Making friends: Building social robots through interdisciplinary collaboration

Selma Sabanovic, Marek P. Michalowski, Linnda Caporael

This paper discusses social robotics as a hybrid knowledge space that encourages interaction and collaboration among many different disciplines: engineering, computer science, the social sciences and humanities, design, the arts, etc. Such collaboration in the design of socio-culturally situated artifacts poses many challenges, occassioned by differences in conceptual frameworks, methods for conducting research, and even daily work practices. By approaching these challenges in a spirit of friendship across the sciences, it is possible to achieve transdisciplinary understanding and reap the benefits of applying different, yet complementary, forms of expertise to social robot design. In this paper, we use insights and lessons learned from our own collaborative experiences to discuss how social as well as technical and design issues are addressed in the construction and evaluation of social robots and how the boundaries between the social, natural, and applied sciences are challenged, redefined, and traversed.

Subjects: 17. Robotics; 6. Computer-Human Interaction

Submitted: Jan 30, 2007

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