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Meaningful Telerobots in Informal Care - A Conceptual Design Case

Ruben Albers, Judith Dörrenbächer, Martin Weigel, Dirk Ruiken, Thomas Weisswange, Christian Goerick, Marc Hassenzahl, "Meaningful Telerobots in Informal Care - A Conceptual Design Case", Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (NordiCHI 2022), 2022.


While telerobots off er potentially unique ways to shape human-human relationships, current concepts often imitate existing practices, such as face-to-face conversations. Using the example of informal care, we explored whether the explicit use of the unique possibilities provided by telerobots can lead to meaningful extended or unique care practices. Initial in-depth conversations with fi ve caregivers and care recipients about their care practices revealed three types of “care visits” (i.e., dedicated, short/spontaneous, reciprocal) as well as what makes them positive (e.g., mutuality, routine, autonomy). We combined this with the unique opportunities telerobots off er, such as masking the feelings of the caregiver. These were further condensed into three video prototypes of potential, robot-mediated care practices and further critically refl ected together with the fi ve participants. All in all, telerobots off er opportunities to strengthen relational autonomy, to entangle roles and to establish less demanding or more activity-based forms of sociability in informal care relations.

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