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Telerobotics in Private Settings 

11 | 2020 – 03 | 2021

While telerobots offer potentially unique ways to shape human-human relationships, current concepts often just perform pragmatic tasks, such as rescue services, or they imitate existing social practices, such as face-to-face conversations.


For the Honda Research Institute (HRI), Ruben Albers, Marc Hassenzahl and me from the University of Siegen explored whether the explicit use of the unique possibilities of telerobots can lead to meaningful care practices in informal care. Initial in-depth conversations with five 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 offer, 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 reflected together with the five participants.


All in all, we did not only find several telerobotic superpowers for social settings but also saw, that telerobots offer opportunities to strengthen relational autonomy, to entangle roles and to establish less demanding or more activity-based forms of sociability in informal care relations.


University of Siegen


Honda Research Institute (HRI)

Ruben Albers

Marc Hassenzahl

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Developing storyboards for three videos with the most meaningful concepts. 

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