Workshop Topics





Program Committee


Beyond Gray Droids: Domestic Robot Design for the 21st Century
workshop in Cambridge, UK
on 1 September 2009
at HCI 2009


Each year, robots are entering domestic environments in increasing number. By 2012, it's estimated that 7.8 million robots will be in domestic settings. These robots are intended to help with household chores, act as home health aids, and serve as companions and entertainers for people. However, because the field of domestic robotics is birthed from industrial robotics, many of these robots in the home still look and behave like they belong in a factory. Their interactive styles are often not well-suited toward the wide variety of home users that exist.

Domestic robots present unique design challenges that are very different from those of industrial robots. The first challenge is a lack of predictability - neither users' behavior nor the physical environment can be known before a robot is placed in a home. Thus, for mobile robots, safety can be a major concern, particularly for elderly or disabled users. For example, a robot vacuum cleaner that does not audibly announce its presence could cause an elderly user with vision loss to trip and fall.

Another challenge is with regard to presenting appropriate, dynamic interaction modalities that are inclusive of all users. For example, physically disabled children may not enjoy a robotic pet that moves too quickly, whereas able-bodied children may be bored by one that does not. The design of interaction modalities should also consider a robot's ability to perceive and interpret a user's behavior (e.g., affective and affect-related expressions, intentions, etc.).

A third design challenge is with regard to robot appearance. Vast cultural differences exist in how people think robots ought to look and behave, and certain types of appearance may be outside the realm of their comfort. For example, humanoid robots with large heads and no noses may be perfectly acceptable in Japan but may be off-putting to Westerners. Also, individual personality differences can greatly affect how people perceive robot appearance.

In order to start address these design challenges, it may be helpful to engage in several steps:

Workshop Topics:

This workshop aims to provide a forum for researchers interested in improving the design of domestic robots. By gathering in a friendly environment, the hope is that researchers can openly share their ideas and vision for the future of this field.

Workshop topics include:

...as well as other relevant topics.

Submission Format and Procedure:

Update: The submission deadline has passed.


All accepted papers will be included in Volume 3 of the HCI 2009 proceedings. Workshop participants will also help contribute to a poster that will be presented at the main conference.


At least one author per accepted paper must register to attend the workshop. Because the workshop will run for an entire day, registration costs £80. Participants are not required to register for the full HCI 2009. Please click here to register.

Note: If you have not submitted a paper to our workshop but still wish to attend, please email the organizers (drd09-chairs[at]cl.cam.ac.uk) before registering to ask if it's ok.


The entire workshop will take place in the Fellows Dining Room at Chuchill College, except coffee and lunch, which are noted.

9.30-9.45: Welcome from chairs, roundtable introduction of all attendees

9.45-10.30: Keynote by David Bisset, Domestic Group Leader, Coordination Action for Robotics in Europe (CARE)

10.30-10.45: Coffee break (in the concorse)

10.45-12.00: Paper Presentations 1 (10 minutes total for presentation and questions)

12.00-12.30: Discussion: What are domestic robots and where are they headed? What are the issues we hope to cover in the workshop, based on the presentations and participants?

12.30-13.30: Lunch (in the college dining room)

13.30-14.30: Bootlegging Introduction: Explanation of the technique, generation of raw materials (brainstorming), split into groups

14.30-15.30: Bootleg brainstorming in groups, facilitated by chairs

15.30-15.45: Coffee Break (in the concorse)

15.45-16.15: Bootleg brainstorming in groups (continued)

16:15-16.45: Presentation of results

16.45-17.15: Dicussion: What did we learn so far? What are the open issues? What are the opportunities?

17.15-17.30: Wrap-Up and Action Points: Where do we go from here? How do we document results? How do we keep the discussion going? E.g. mailing list, wiki, journal special issue, further workshops, etc.


Laurel D. Riek (University of Cambridge, UK)
Ginevra Castellano (Queen Mary University of London, UK)
Lars Erik Holmquist (Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Sweden)

Program Committee:

Nadia Berthouze (UCL Interaction Centre, UK)
Kerstin Dautenhahn (University of Hertfordshire, UK)
Ylva Fernaeus (Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Sweden)
Maria Håkansson (Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Sweden)
Marcel Heerink (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Mattias Jacobsson (Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Sweden)
Bernt Meerbeek (Philips Research, Netherlands)
Peter W. McOwan (Queen Mary University of London, UK)
Christopher Peters (Coventry University, UK)
Kristin Stubbs (iRobot Corporation, USA)
Mick Walters (University of Hertfordshire, UK)
Astrid Weiss (University of Salzburg, Austria)


If you have any questions, please contact drd09-chairs[at]cl.cam.ac.uk.