The design of social robots typically does not focus on their kinetic expression, and often follows the assumption that their appearance should be human or animal like. To encourage a broader understanding of the possibilities for design of social robots, and as an inquiry into alternative relations with them, we present two robots, the Lat-Sac and the Blo-Nut, which are purposefully moving away from typical social robot design. We engaged performance experts in the choreographic sketching of their elastic expression, and we staged the robots in a near future fictitious world to create a discursive space for reflection on emerging relations. Based on these encounters we propose how acknowledging the otherness of social robots can be valuable in designing as well as growing intriguing relations with them.

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Project team: Harvey Bewley, Laurens Boer, Ben Cahill

Laurens Boer and Harvey Bewley. 2018. Reconfiguring the Appearance and Expression of Social Robots by Acknowledging their Otherness. In Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 667-677.

Harvey Bewley and Laurens Boer. 2018. Designing Blo-nut: Design Principles, Choreography and Otherness in an Expressive Social Robot. In Proceedings of the 2018 Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’18). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 1069-1080.