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Bridging Ethnography and Design in HRI: Making Space for Diverging Perspectives

PUBLICATION AUTHOR/S: Stine S. Johansen, Jared W. Donovan, Markus Rittenbruch

Ethnography and design go hand in hand in human-centered research. However, while design is receiving increasing interest within the Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) communities, ethnographic research adds additional complexity that has yet to be mapped. While there is a need for bridging ethnographic and design methodologies for HRI, this also brings inherent tensions. In this position paper, we present insights from an empirical study in which ethnographic and design methods were utilised for co-design of a collaborative robotic system. Through ethnographic methods, we established a collaborative relation with technicians in a manufacturing facility. We then conducted three in-situ design workshops in which the same technicians engaged in development of a collaborative robotic system. Through this process, we encountered a tension inherent to challenging assumptions and knowledge about what a robot can or could do. In this paper, we present activities we included to tackle this tension and future research directions for bridging ethnography and design in HRI.

Human-Robot Interaction Program based at QUT
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