Formalizing the design space and product development cycle for socially interactive robots

Deng, E., B. Mutlu, and M. Matarić. “Formalizing the Design Space and Product Development Cycle for Socially Interactive Robots”. Workshop on Social Robots in the Wild at the 2018 ACM Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), 2018.


As socially interactive robots move out of the lab and “into the wild,” the systems being developed are shifting from being general- use, research-focused platforms to application-specific products. In product development, designers systematically and iteratively explore the design space of a product to arrive at a design that best fulfills business, engineering, and design requirements. Socially interactive robots are no different; they are envisioned for specific applications, contexts, and scenarios of use and must be designed appropriately. Although robot designers can take cues from related fields such as industrial design and animation, there has yet to be a formalized approach to the development of these systems. We outline a characterization of the design and application spaces of socially interactive robots based on a survey of 65 publications. We also present a product development cycle for this new category given our design-space characterization and findings of the survey.