Social Robots: Human-Machine Configurations – Transformations Journal No. 29, 2017

Human-machine relationships are being transformed by robots increasingly performing social roles such as teachers, carers and companions. This arrival of social robots is challenging understandings of human-machine relationships and generating diverse aesthetic, ethical and political debates. Matters of interest include asymmetries in human-robot relationships, the co-constitution of humans and robots, the place of robot labour,…

Perception, Imagination and Affect in Human–Robot Relationships

As they arrive in our homes, nursing facilities and educational institutions, urgent questions are being asked about the ethics of encouraging people to have feelings towards social robots that have roles as companions, carers and teachers. This article suggests that the quality of these debates is enhanced by examining how people perceive robots and, in…

Interaction Expands Function: Social Shaping of the Therapeutic Robot PARO in a Nursing Home

We use the social shaping of technology and society framework to qualitatively analyze data collected through observation of human-robot interaction (HRI) between social actors in a nursing home (staff, residents, visitors) and the socially assistive robot PARO. The study took place over the course of three months, during which PARO was placed in a publicly…

Design and Evaluation of a Touch-Centered Calming Interaction with a Social Robot

With advances in sensor and actuator design, intelligent computing techniques and personal care robotics, today's robots hold promise as fully interactive, therapeutic human companions. To achieve this ambitious goal, key interaction components must be identified and then systematically designed and evaluated. Based on successes of human-animal therapy, we propose affective touch as one such component.…