• Applying the “human-dog interaction” metaphor in human-robot interaction: a co-design practice engaging healthy retired adults in China

Liao, Chenyi, 2022, Thesis, Applying the “human-dog interaction” metaphor in human-robot interaction: a co-design practice engaging healthy retired adults in China PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This research adopts a Deweyan pragmatist approach and “research through design” methods to explore the use of human-dog interaction as a model for developing human-robot interaction. This research asks two questions: (1) In what way could the human-dog interaction model inform the design of social robots to meet the needs of older adults? (2) What role could aesthetic, functional and behavioural aspects of the human-dog interaction play in older adults’ interaction with social robots?

Driven by the pragmatist approach, this thesis uses the dog-human interaction model as a metaphor in this thesis. The research carried out four studies in two parts. The first part of the practice includes two explorative studies to identify aspects of human-dog interaction that could inform the design of social robots for older adults. Study 1 explores aspects of human-dog interaction that could inform the design of human-robot interaction for retired adults. Study 2 explores a group of healthy retired adults’ attitudes and preferences toward social/assistive robots in China. The findings suggest that, first, the pairing and training process provides a framework for building personalised social robots in terms of form, function, interaction, and stakeholders involved. Second, the cooperative interaction between a human and a guide dog provides insights for building social robots that take on leading roles in interactions. The robot-as-dog metaphor offers a new perspective to rethink the design process of social robots based on the role dog trainer, owner, and the dog plays in human-dog interaction.

In the second part of the practice, two more studies are conducted to articulate the usefulness of the designer-as-trainer-metaphor, and the personalisation-astraining-metaphor, using participatory co-designing methods. Engaging both retired adult participants and roboticists as co-designers to investigate further how aesthetic aspects, functional features, and interactive behaviours characterising dog-human interaction could inform how older adults can interact with social robots. Study 3 involved co-designing a robot probe with roboticists and later deploying it in a participant’s home using the Wizard of Oz method. The personalisation-as-training metaphor helps facilitate a critical discussion for the interdisciplinary co-design process. It broadens the design space when addressing the technical limitation of the probe’s camera through reflection-in-action. Study 4 engages the retired adults as co-designers to envision what characteristics they would like robots to have, with attention to the robot’s form, the functions that the robot can perform and how the robot interacts with users. The study applies techniques such as sketching and storyboarding to understand how retired adults make sense of these core elements
that are key to developing social/assistive robots for positive ageing.

This thesis makes two main contributions to knowledge in human-robot interaction and interaction design research. Firstly, it provides an applied example using the robot-as-dog metaphor as a tool to probe human-robot interactions in a domestic context. Secondly, to show dog-human interaction model is applicable to different levels of abstraction for the co-designing process that involves the roboticists and the end-users. The outcome shows a reflective practice that engages metaphors to facilitate communication across disciplines in the co-design process.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
School or Centre: School of Communication
Funders: China’s Scholarship Council
Uncontrolled Keywords: metaphor; co-design; interaction design research; human-dog interaction; social robots
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2022 10:44
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 10:44
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5175
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