Terran Mott and Alexandra Bejarano and Tom Williams


ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction

Publication Year

Children are stakeholders of robotic technologies who deserve to have their voices heard in the design process just as much as adult stakeholders. This is especially true for robotic technologies explicitly designed for child-robot interaction, in areas like education, healthcare, and therapy. Researchers face the challenge of cultivating children's critical awareness on the design of robots and accompanying ethical concerns, as the types of exercises typically used to engage with adult stakeholders can be ineffective with children. This requires developmentally appropriate methods for understanding children's perspectives that also address the imbalanced power dynamics between children and adults -- such that children feel comfortable sharing their ideas. In this work, we demonstrate that participatory design research techniques already accepted in the Human Robot Interaction (HRI) community can fulfill this purpose. Specifically, through the design and analysis of two co-design workshops with children of different ages at a school in Denver, Colorado, we demonstrate that co-design workshops can be used to effectively understand how children make sense of robotic technologies and to facilitate children's critical reflection on the ethical dilemmas surrounding their own relationships with robots.