Social Attributes of Robotic Products: Observations of Child-Robot Interactions in a School Environment
Kwangmyung Oh, Myungsuk Kim


With advances in robot technology and their increased application within commercial products, the demand for novel designs, including appearance and interaction design, is increasing in robot research. This paper focuses on the actual interactions of robotic products. Considering their significant cognitive-psychological influence and ability to collaborate intellectually with users, robotic products can be successfully designed if designers fully utilize their interactive attributes. For this purpose, a robot named ‘Tiro’ was designed and used in a real-life elementary school environment; next, the Wizard of Oz technique and video-ethnography were utilized to empirically investigate user-robot interactions. From this, sharp changes were identified in child-robot interactions despite the relatively short time frame of the study. In the earlier stages, the interactions were mostly related to the robot exterior and movement and other characteristics of the robot itself, while more interaction patterns related to its social attributes—giving of meaning, emotional expressions and relationship forming—were observed in later stages. Such dynamic changes in the patterns of child-robot interactions demonstrate the importance of social attributes among the various distinctive attributes of robots; they also suggest the possibility of social attributes as a clue towards resolving issues concerning robots and other intelligent products (e.g., short lifetime and long-term interactions).

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