How can technologie help people in creating and discovering their social pattern and needs that works best for them individual and highlight the importance of balancing social life and solitude?
Digital Prototyping, Design Research, Electronics & Arduino, Interaction design, Co-design
client: HvA Research
Jasper Bunschoten, Pamela Nelson, Veronika Radenkova
Create one or more 'social robots' that operate in public space and invite people to interact with it and each other. To investigate these interactions between robots and humans, we made quick robot prototypes to test. We took in consideration the definition of what makes a social robot, namely having two-way interaction, having thoughts and feelings, aware of their social environment and need to move independent and behave unpredicatably. From these tests we saw that it was really important to give clear affordances and functions and needs for others to interact with the robots.
Because the development of this project took place during Covid-19, we decided to use this situation to our advantage. How can social robotics help round a time of feeling more disconnected. How can technologie help to keep the balance of being alone and together? What happens if we make our own social technologies and learn about our social needs ans our use of technology? There for I'm sketching out ideas around what I found important the robot need to have to support in my social needs and which technological possibilities there are.
With an auto-ethnographic research approach, we wanted to see how technology can help us in creating and discovering our social patterns and needs. We all started with a ‘basic kit’ of technology, a set of requirements and with a basic setup to communicate over distance with a WiFi Arduino and MQTT broker. We created a journal format to log our processes of making, living and reflecting over a period of three weeks. Every day we discussed and compared our experiences, tinkering away and making adjustments to the hardware and software when necessary.
After this research phase was over, we started to design a ‘Social Robotics Kit’ that would allow other makers to get involved too. So they can order the kit, dowload the code, start building and learn about your own social needs and the influence of technology. To get insights how other people would experience this process we did a co-design session with 5 people over Zoom.
Combined with this we made a community platform to share our stories, insights and instructions for others to be inspired by. And also the instructions how to get started your self with ordering the kit and making the robot. And a forum to support these makers and encourage a community of social robot makers/hackers to grow.
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