The objective of this full day workshop is to bring together a multidisciplinary group of researchers to identify and address key challenges to the future study of social robotics in both lab and field. The workshop will include guest speakers with backgrounds in a range of methodological approaches to HRI.

Workshop Overview

Social robotics has become increasingly important in HRI, yet robots are often still designed and evaluated using traditional lab-based experimental methods that derive from the AI roots of robotics as a field. Increasingly however, robotics researchers are considering the value of multi-disciplinary design and evaluation methods, including the mixed-methods lab-based designs used traditionally within the social sciences along with ‘in the wild’ testing through field deployments in public settings. In this workshop, we will explore the challenges to both robotic design and evaluation methods that these hybrid methodologies create, and how these challenges might be harnessed to promote a more ‘human-centred’ approach to HRI.

With increasingly affordable advanced robotics platforms such as the Nao and the RoboThespian now reaching market, we find ourselves standing at the gateway to a new era of socially capable robots operating within the public sphere. In response to new needs and expectations of the public en-masse, once this gateway opens, the capabilities of socially aware semi-autonomous and autonomous robots will likely accelerate sharply. In tandem, public perceptions of robotics must shift from considering robots as largely hidden autonomous machines of factory work towards their being integrated into society as a form of social being in their own right. The true impact of the public’s preconceived notions about robots (e.g. as informed by science fiction) will become increasingly salient, and the gulf between public perception and the reality of robot technology may be much smaller (or indeed much larger) than we anticipate.

How we as robotics developers and researchers mediate this process is a challenge for all of us. As we have seen with other rapidly evolving technologies, we must be mindful that this process has the potential to be highly disruptive. There is therefore an increased urgency for HRI as a multi-disciplinary research field to collaborate effectively to develop and share appropriate tools with which to respond to this new era.

Papers now available online

Thank you to all of our contributors. Links to the papers supporting this workshop are now available in the workshop programme section.

Important Dates

Submission of papers / extended abstracts
Sunday 02/08/15 (Midnight GMT)
Notification of acceptance
Wednesday 26/08/15
Submission of camera-ready papers
Friday 04/09/15
Monday 28/09/15


For all enquiries relating to this workshop, please contact Chris Bevan at crb23@bath.ac.uk.


Chris Bevan
University of Bath, U.K.
Paul Bremner
Bristol Robotics Laboratory, U.K.
Danaë Stanton Fraser
University of Bath, U.K.
Hatice Gunes
Queen Mary University London, U.K.

Call for Contributions

We invite papers using a wide range of methodological approaches, from traditional quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods, through to ethnomethodology and new/ emergent methods for studying HRI. These approaches may be lab-based or “in the wild” (i.e. studies that are conducted in public / semi-public spaces).

Topics of Interest

We are particularly interested in submissions based on the following topics:

  • What should a human-centred robotics study look like?
  • Central design methods and approaches of robotics that support an ‘in-the-wild’ approach to HRI evaluation.
  • The legal and ethical considerations of working with robotics in public settings.
  • How existing public perceptions of robotics can be incorporated / accounted for in research design.
  • The transfer of methodologies from the social sciences / HCI to HRI, including the identification of potential methodological gaps.
  • The use of new technologies (e.g. motion / eye trackers) to enable new evaluation methods in this area.

Special Issue

In tandem with this workshop, we are also preparing a Special Issue (further details TBA). Selected papers from the workshop will be considered for this special issue (we will also issue an open call). Submissions to the special issue will go through a separate peer review process.

Instructions for Authors

A maximum of 12 submissions will be accepted for oral presentation based on their quality, originality, and relevance to the workshop. Submitted papers should not be under consideration for publication anywhere else.

We invite authors to submit full papers (4-6 pages), or extended abstracts (2 pages). Video submissions will also be considered.



Hideaki Kuzuoka // University of Tsukuba, Japan.

Hideaki Kuzuoka is a Professor in the Division of Intelligent Interaction Technologies at the University of Tsukuba, Japan. His main research interests include computer supported cooperative work (CSCW), human-robot interaction (HRI), and virtual reality (VR). He is a director of the Virtual Reality Society of Japan and Human Interface Society in Japan. He is also a Steering Committee member of ACM/IEEE Human Robot Interaction (HRI) and ACM Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW).


Astrid Weiss // Vienna University of Technology, Austria.

Astrid Weiss is a postdoctoral research fellow in HRI at the Vision4Robotics group at the ACIN Institute of Automation and Control at Vienna University of Technology (Austria). Her current research focuses on Human-Robot Cooperation in vision-based tasks and service robots for older adults. Her research is inspired by Theory of Mind and the approach of transferring findings from human-human studies to human-robot interaction in order to improve intuitiveness and acceptance. Her general research interests are user-centered design and evaluation studies for Human-Computer Interaction and Human-Robot Interaction with a focus on in-the-wild studies and controlled experiments. She is especially interested in the impact technology has on our everyday life and what makes people accept or reject technology. Before her position in Vienna she was a postdoc researcher at the HCI&Usability Unit, of the ICT&S Center, University of Salzburg, Austria and at the Christian Doppler Laboratory on “Contextual Interfaces” at University of Salzburg.


Laurel Riek // University of Notre Dame, U.S.

Laurel Riek is the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. Prof. Riek directs the Robotics, Health, and Communication Lab, where she leads research in robotics, social signal processing, and health informatics. Her work focuses on building autonomous robots able to sense, respond, and adapt to human behavior in the real world, and also tackles real-world problems in healthcare, by creating novel sensing and robotics technology to improve patient safety. Prof. Riek has received the NSF CAREER Award, a Qualcomm Research Scholar Award, several best paper awards, and five recognition awards during her eight-year tenure as a Senior Artificial Intelligence Engineer and Roboticist at MITRE. She serves on the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Human Machine Systems, on the Steering Committee of the ACM/IEEE Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), and numerous conference program committees.


Time Session
08:45 - 09:00 Opening (Workshop Chairs: Chris Bevan, Paul Bremner & Hatice Gunes)
09:00 - 10:00 Keynote: Hideaki Kuzuoka (Chair: Chris Bevan)
10:00 - 10:30 COFFEE BREAK
10:30 - 11:30 Session 1. Theme: Evaluating Robots in Public Spaces (Chair: Hideaki Kuzuoka)
11:30 - 12:30 Keynote: Astrid Weiss (Chair: Paul Bremner)
12:30 - 14:00 LUNCH
14:00 - 15:00 Keynote: Laurel Riek (Chair: Hatice Gunes)
15:00 - 15:30 Session 2. Theme: New Thinking & Methodologies for Social HRI - Part One (Chair: Astrid Weiss)
15:30 - 16:00 COFFEE BREAK
16:00 - 17:00 Session 3. Theme: New Thinking & Methodologies for Social HRI - Part Two (Chair: Laurel Riek)
17:00 - 17:30 Open Floor Discussion: Hideaki Kuzuoka, Laurel Riek, Astrid Weiss, Workshop Chairs and the Audience


For all enquiries relating to this workshop, please contact Chris Bevan at crb23@bath.ac.uk.

Programme Chairs

Programme Committee

  • Ute Leonards, University of Bristol, U.K.
  • Tony Belpaeme, University of Plymouth, U.K.
  • Friederike Eyssel, Bielefeld Universitat, Germany.
  • Oya Celiktutan, Queen Mary University of London, U.K.
  • Laurel Riek, University of Notre Dame, USA.
  • Mohamed Chetouani, University of Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC), France.
  • Iolanda Leite, Yale University, USA.
  • Sascha Griffiths, Queen Mary University of London, U.K.
  • Lola Canamero, University of Hertfordshire, U.K.

Being There: Humans and Robots in Public Spaces is funded by the EPSRC under its IDEAS Factory Sandpits call on Digital Personhood, grant ref: EP/L00416X/1.