Robotics Research Projects – background

A 2013 report by McKinsey [1] estimated that advanced robotics could generate a potential economic impact of USD1.7-4.5 trillion by 2025. It mentions that “These advanced robots have greater mobility, dexterity, flexibility, and adaptability, as well as the ability to learn from and interact with humans. In advanced economies, some workers might find new job opportunities in developing, maintaining, or working with robots”. The users of these future robotic co-workers will be diverse in terms of gender and culture. Therefore, it is pertinent to develop a robotics module that accounts for how gender matters in the design process. Recent work shows that user experiments must cover gender to obtain a robust picture of how different features of products and services affect user safety and satisfaction [2]. Recent work at the MIT media lab has found that gender plays an important role in human-robot interaction in terms of the persuasiveness or the ability to influence a user to change behavior [3]. Therefore, we will choose several domains of human-robot interaction that allow us to raise questions about how gender and culture of robot users and designers should be integrated into the design process of robots.

[1] McKinsey global report 2013: Disruptive technologies

[2] Schiebinger, Londa. “Gendered innovations: harnessing the creative power of sex and gender analysis to discover new ideas and develop new technologies.” Triple Helix 1.1 (2014): 9.

[3] Siegel, Mikey, Cynthia Breazeal, and Michael I. Norton. “Persuasive robotics: The influence of robot gender on human behavior.” Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2009. IROS 2009. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on. IEEE, 2009.

Please also look at this video: