If it looks like a duck: Names as shared signifiers for discussing “cuteness” in healthcare robotics.

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    “Cuteness” emerged as a key value within the Smooth Project [7], which targets the design of a robot to facilitate daily tasks in retirement homes. The Smooth project is planned from 2017 to 2020 and it follows a user centred design approach [4]. During the first stage, observations and interviews were conducted at the home and three scenarios were established for the robot. The first two scenarios are of a practical nature such as collecting laundry and garbage from the residents’ rooms, the third scenario is social, as the robot should accompany the residents to the dining room at the time of their meals. During the second (current) stage, different designs were explored through 3D and 2D digital visualisations. These visualisations were discussed in two co-design workshops and email exchanges within the research team, which includes: academics, stakeholders (local companies and institutions), and end users from the home. Data for this study were gathered through field notes during the workshops and discourse analysis of email exchanges [2]. A testing workshop with an initial prototype is planned at the home for spring 2018.
    This study builds on multimodality [3] and digital ecologies ([5] and [1]), to explore the symbolic function of verbal language in shared meaning making, regarding aesthetic and interactivity of the robot. At the same time, the robot is understood as an embodied system contextualised within a digital ecology that encompasses social activities, individuals and physical artefacts with different roles [6]. In this study animal names, such as: penguin, bear, giraffe, and swan, acted as shared signifiers, enabling the research team to decode the different visualisations of the robot and explore its aesthetics, functionalities, and possible interactions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2018
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    Event9 ICOM: Multimodality - moving theory forward - Syddansk Universitet, Odense, Denmark
    Duration: 15. Aug 201817. Aug 2018
    Conference number: 9


    Conference9 ICOM
    LocationSyddansk Universitet
    Internet address

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