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Collaborative Robots and Tangled Passages of Tactile-Affects

Barker, Edmund; Jewitt, Carey; (2022) Collaborative Robots and Tangled Passages of Tactile-Affects. ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction 10.1145/3534090. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Collaborative robots are increasingly entering industrial contexts and workflows. These contexts are not just locations for production, they are vibrant social and sensory environments. For better or for worse their entry brings potential to reorganize established tactile and affective dynamics that encompass production processes. There is still much to be learned about these highly contextual and complex dynamics in HRI research and the design of industrial robotics; common approaches in industrial collaborative robotics are restricted to evaluating ‘effective interface design’ whereas methods that seek to measure ‘affective touch’ have limited application to these industrial domains. This paper offers an extended analytical framework and methodological approach to deepen understandings of affect and touch beyond emotional responses to direct human-robot interactions. These distinct contributions are grounded in fieldwork in a glass factory with newly installed collaborative robots. They are illustrated through an ethnographic narrative that traces the emergence and circulation of affect, across material, experiential and social planes. Beyond this single case ‘tangled passages of tactile-affects’ is offered as novel and valuable concept, that is distinct from the notion of ‘affective touch’, and holds potential to generate holistic and nuanced understandings of how human experiences can be affected by the introduction of new robots in ‘the wild’.

Type: Article
Title: Collaborative Robots and Tangled Passages of Tactile-Affects
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1145/3534090
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1145/3534090
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Collaborative Robots, Ethnographic Narrative, Tactile-Affects, Ethnography, Industrial Robotics
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10149435
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