Becoming in Touch with Industrial Robots through Ethnography
Companion of the 2020 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
Touch is central to communication and social interaction. For both humans and robots touch is a mode through which they sense the world. A second wave of industrial robots is reshaping how touch operates within the labor process. Recent studies have turned their attention to the role of touch in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). While these studies have produced useful knowledge in relation to the affective capacities of robotic touch, methods remain restrictive. This paper contributes to
... ributes to expanding research methods for the study of robotic touch. It reports on the design of an ongoing ethnography that forms part of the InTouch project. The interdisciplinary project takes forward a socially orientated stance and is concerned with how technologies shape the semiotic and sensory dimensions of touch in the 'real world'. We contend that these dimensions are key factors in shaping how humans and robots interact, yet are currently overlooked in the HRI community. This multi-sited sensory ethnography research has been designed to explore the social implications of robotic touch within industrial settings (e.g. manufacturing and construction).