I was really happy to get my paper accepted to one of the most important conferences in our human-robot interaction field, namely ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. I decided to attend on site, because the conference site in Stockholm was easy to reach from Finland with sustainable travel arrangements by taking a low carbon ferry from Turku to Stockholm. As I am trying to avoid flying nowadays, this was a good choice for me. Stockholm was beautiful as always. I found new perspectives for it by walking in Södermalm area, where the conference was arranged in the old brewery Münchenbryggeriet.
The conference was big, at least it felt like big amount of people after covid times and meeting less people. There were 500 persons on site, and around 200 online. Only 6 Finnish persons attended on site. The presentations were impressive, and one could really sense that the highest quality of HRI work was presented there. One had possibility to meet many people as well as robots, because there was one room full of different robots and demos. Maybe I met there some of our new robot members-to-be, who knows? I was happy to observe that the new generation of social robots is taking the data safety more seriously than their predecessors. And I also noticed that field studies are still quite rare in the HRI field, which is good for us because we are doing exactly that.
My presentation was part of the session Robot teachers, Learning with robots. The title of our page was: “Robocamp at Home: Exploring Families’ Co-Learning with a Social Robot” and you can find the open access paper in ACM Digital Library. In the presentation, I told about our one month field study at eight homes, where we gave a small social robot to be used by families. Every week, we gave them some new learning tasks related to the robot, including getting familiar with it, programming it, and designing some functionalities for it. I described how the family members were collaboratively learning together around the robot, what kinds of learner roles were adopted, and what kinds of ethical considerations there might be about having a social robot at home. The presentation went fine, but it was challenging to present a big qualitative study in 8 minutes.
It was a good experience to go to this conference and see what other people, including very big names, are doing in this field. I also feel that there is good value in what were are doing in Robostudio, and we have a very unique approach to robotics.
Best regards, Aino Ahtinen from Robostudio