Participatory Design of a Social Robot (So-bot) Toolkit for and with Adults with Autism

Suhaib Aslam, Edwin Dertien (Contributor), Jelle van Dijk (Contributor)

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    According to Autism-Europe, autism impacts around 5 million people in the EU. Recent research has shown that social robots, due to their deterministic nature, simplified appearance and technological capabilities, can enable robot- assisted therapy or act as assistive technology for empowering autistic individuals with daily household activities. As such, toolkits have emerged to enable researchers to prototype assistive social robots. In the design and research regarding such toolkits, there are gaps regarding robot designs, fundamental customization possibilities and especially the methodologies for operationalizing and scaffolding the co-design of social robots with vulnerable groups. In order to take a first step towards overcoming these research/design gaps and towards uncovering the right questions about them, the Co3 Project deals with an exploratory study involving the participatory design of a social robot toolkit for and with autistic adults. The project’s components have been co-designed, evaluated and tested with autistic adults at an autism care institute.

    The exploratory project has carved a toolkit of linkable social robot building blocks centered around which is a holistic, novel process for conducting social robot participatory design with cognitively impaired individuals. That process has artefacts meticulously designed with the participants in mind–giving the artefacts sufficient scaffolding to make co- design navigable by bridging the imaginative or social impairments of involved participants. The project aims to inspire a movement of scalable, democratized social robot co-design, which can evoke questions on what human-robot interactions to design in the first place and which can empower egalitarian inclusiveness in (co-)design of all users.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    Event4th RTD Conference: Design United - Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, Netherlands
    Duration: 19 Mar 201922 Mar 2019
    Conference number: 4


    Conference4th RTD Conference: Design United
    Abbreviated titleRTD 2019
    Internet address


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