Research Initiative on the Design of Social Robots


Futurice & Aalto University's Intelligent Robotics research group

Role: Design & Research Lead

Workshop with YLE, the Finnish national broadcasting company. Action research on the methodology of using canvases for co-design was conducted during the workshop.


Following my thesis research, I initiated a research project on the design of social robots. The inspiration for the research resulted from my observation of the lack of design tools and methodologies to facilitate the work of cross-disciplinary robotics teams.


The initiative is led by me, and carried out by Futurice 10/2018 – 07/2018, in collaboration with Aalto University's Intelligent Robotics research group.

The research examines the cross-disciplinary co-design process of a social robot via action research methodologies. The design outcomes will be analyzed, to investigate the similarities and differences between design guidelines for social robots used in different domains, namely media, public services and healthcare. The project aims to model the future of open source social robotics, in Finland and elsewhere.


Resulting material from this study will be published with the open source license (CC BY-SA 4.0). These materials include validated co-design tools for social robot design, design guidelines for robotics in the three mentioned industries, and modeling the future of Finnish robotics over the next five years. In addition, material such as blog text and code excerpts will be published.

A collaboration on a publication on the research is planned in co-operation with the Intelligent Robotics group for the Journal of Human-Robot Interaction.

Futurice is looking into the possibility of designing and building a fully open source social robot. The research completed in this initiative will lay the foundations for this ambitious goal.

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