CHI 2019 Workshop

The Challenges of Working on Social Robots that Collaborate with People

The advances in Robotics offer exciting opportunities for robots to become socially collaborative technologies. But are we ready for and are the robots capable of enabling a good level of interaction and user experience? How can the CHI community work with the Human Robot Interaction (HRI) community to share best practices and methods in order to continue to advance research that crosses methodological and cultural boundaries between HRI and HCI?

This workshop will bring together key researchers working in and across both HCI and HRI to share existing challenges and opportunities to advance the field of Socially Collaborative Robotics. We will look to share our recent research experiences and practices in order to build capacity in the crossings between HCI and HRI.


Overview of Workshop

This workshop will bring together HRI and HCI experts to share best practices and existing methods and approaches and to share their experiences (good and bad) in crossing the boundaries between the CHI and HRI disciplines. The outcome of the workshop will be a position paper confirming the current challenges outlining how the communities can learn from each other. It will also outline the next key steps in HRI and HCI related research need to be taken to move the research forward on social robots.



Researchers working between HCI and HRI are, for example, already struggling with issues including (but not limited to):

  • Choosing the right methods for studies relating to socially collaborative robotics in home, public and community settings. Specifically, we need to consider a wide array of methods from efficacy and effectiveness studies, to realistic evaluation, to lab testing, to design and evaluation at scale and in the wild.
  • Selecting and integrating methods from HCI and HRI that allow for future repeatability of studies.
  • Communication related issues e.g. supporting effective social interactions through cognitive and emotive computing, and through natural interactions.
  • Managing the balance between appearance and capability, this includes providing safe physical contact or moving within very close proximity. This also includes the novelty effect e.g., that people overestimate a robot’s capabilities.
  • Addressing the level of user engagement and co-working/problem solving with a socially collaborative robot and when it is appropriate or necessary for a handover to other technologies or people to occur.
  • Looking for what are the most appropriate ways for a social robot to collect and manage data about the humans it interacts with. This needs to be done in terms of explainability, trust, privacy, security, ethics, and information governance issues.
  • Managing differences across regions, organisations, cultures, practices and expectations between the many stakeholder groups (e.g. commercial companies, users, charities, funders, policy makers).
  • Ensuring that our interaction methods and designs meet the challenge of enabling socially collaborative robots without removing the need for appropriate human social contact; especially to guarantee shared decision making. 

We would welcome papers (4-6 pages) on the topic of the workshop, but we are especially interested in position papers outlining research work carried out in one of our challenge areas.
We would also welcome anyone from either community who would like to suggest some new challenges.

For more information about participating in our workshop, please see our 'Call for Participation'.


Post Workshop Plans

The workshop organisers and extended program committee have discussed with editors of the ACM Transactions of Human-Robot Interaction a special issue on The Challenges of Working on Social Robots that Collaborate with People. This will include an editorial from the organisers on the outcome of the CHI workshop discussions regarding the grand challenges and opportunities for advancing the HRI and HCI research. We will also offer a short article version of our vision of how HCI and HRI researchers could work together more to advance robotic interaction for publication in the ACM Interactions magazine.