Reconfiguring the Appearance and Expression of Social Robots by Acknowledging their Otherness

Laurens Boer, Harvey Bewley

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The design of social robots usually does not focus on their kinetic expression, and often follows the assumption that their appearance should be human or animal like. To encourage a broader understanding of the possibilities for design of social robots, and as an inquiry into alternative relations with them, we present two robots, the Lat-Sac and the Blo-Nut, which are purposefully moving away from typical social robot design. We present how we engaged performance experts in the choreographic sketching of their elastic expression, and how we staged the robots in a fictitious near-future scenario to create a discursive space for reflection on emerging relations. Based on these encounters we discuss how acknowledging the otherness of social robots can be valuable in designing as well as growing intriguing relations with them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference : DIS '18
Number of pages11
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date8 Jun 2018
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-5198-0
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2018


  • Social Robots
  • Interactive Performance
  • Diegetic Prototype
  • Research through Design
  • Soft Robotics
  • Otherness


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