Design for compassion: designing robots for e-mental healthcare

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As the demand for mental health treatments rises, technology is called to bridge the gap between a traditional mental healthcare approach and the new needs of our evolving society. In the field of mental healthcare, the goal is to create a more sustainable system in which the adaptability of people is increased and supported by technology. However, when it comes to introducing technology, seen as cold and distant in a field so connected to humanness, there is a fear of losing the therapeutic alliance between therapist and patient. For this reason, we address the need for technology to be designed and developed in a way that increases the importance of benefiting the people in the mental healthcare domain. We believe that this is achieved through a design for values approach, where the value of compassion, a very important one in the field of mental healthcare, is given a central role in the development of new therapeutic technologies. In this paper, from considerations on different kinds of applicable technologies, we will focus on and shortly explore what it means to design a robot, based on the value of compassion. We will address the differences between a human-human interaction and a robot-human interaction in the compassion process, and how this affects the design of a compassionate robot.


Workshop1st International Workshop on Designerly HRI Knowledge 2020
OtherHeld in conjunction with the 29th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN 2020)
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  • Compassion
  • Design for values
  • Robots
  • Methodology
  • Mental healthcare


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