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HRI research activities

RIF - Robotter i Folkeskolen [Robots in School]

RIF mini-conference 

FTCL published the report Robotter I Folkeskolen [only available in Danish] at the RIF mini-conference November 14.
Gertrud Lynge Esbensen, Matias Breum and Cathrine Hasse presented main findings and discussed the various implications of introducing robots in teaching in the Danish folkeskole. The presentations were followed by interesting discussions.

RIF is an anthropological project studying robots in classroom use across Denmark.

Why robots?
Robots are often acquired as a tool to engage less academic students in new ways and to initiate new teaching methods - which RIF found to be partially successful. But many schools do not have a clear didactic plan for using the robots when they invest in them, and they are rarely used to teach subject-relevant material. In fact, the robots seem scarcely connected to the classical subjects being taught in the Danish Folkeskole (primary and secondary school) and teachers often call for guidance in on how to use robots in their teaching.

Read more about the RIF project here.


New report on robots in schools (in Danish)

Classroom interaction

The Robot is Present

A collaboration between RIF and Muse®um

The RIF project also studied human-robot interactions through an art installation at Muse®um called 'The Robot Is Present'. This experiment is inspired by the Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović’s installation The Artist Is Present.

Children were interviewed about their perception of the robot NAO - what did they think of its sounds, looks, voice etc. We also asked children to draw a picture of a robot in action either before or after the exhibition. In all, RIF and Muse®um have collected more than 100 drawings depicting very different perceptions of what a robot is or can be.

Watch a movie of the art-based research project "The Robot is Present"

Social Robots in Practices Places

An empirical study of interaction between staff, residents and two social robots at a Danish rehabilitation centre by anthropologist Cathrine Hasse, Maja Hojer and engineer Signe Hanghøj.

Though substantial funding has been invested in developing health service robots, few studies have explored human-robot interactions as they play out in everyday practice. Through ethnographic methods combined with anthropological learning processes, this study identifies new understandings of technology in use, e.g., technologies as multistable ontologies.

A main finding
The complex learning processes involved in integrating robots in the everyday practices did not only implicate the end users but also staff, management as well as the doings and discourse in a complex amalgamation of materials and values. 

Article in Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
The article Studying Social Robots in Practiced Places describes the outcome of the three researchers' observations and analyses. It was published in the spring 2015


PARO - therapeutic robot


TIPP - Technology In Production Processes

TIPP inquires into, and supports the development of technology-oriented workplace learning within the Danish meat industry.

Although considering the broader context of the working process, its management, culture and organisation, specific focus is on employees engaged with different aspects of meat production and particularly those involved in trans-operational activities spanning different process activities and socio-technical encounters (known as ‘båndløber’).

The theoretical, empirical and analytical aspects of the study need therefore to support the better understanding of these encounters, how they differ between practices, skills and types of technology, and how they can inform the wider necessity for change amongst co-workers, organisation and management.

Industrial robot in the meat industry

Travelling Technologies and Their Cultural Luggage

Lasse Blond, PhD Fellow at the University of Aarhus, is studying the transfer of technology with a special interest in the transfer of social robots from Asia to Europe.

Travelling Technologies and Their Cultural Luggage studies the integration of social robots in healthcare in Finland and Denmark with a specific focus on how this involved embedded cultural values characteristic of technology transfer.

By studying technology transfer with a socio-cultural approach I seek to broaden the understanding of factors advancing the integration of transferred technologies as well as developing better theoretical concepts to comprehend the adaption in the recipient country. The project elucidates the importance of seeing technology transfers as a two-way interaction; and technology as a shaper of culture and equally important culture as shaping technology and the way we use it.

The Robot at the Museum

This research project is conducted by Oliver Alexander Tafdrup, PhD Fellow at Future Technology, Culture & Learning, Aarhus University and Stina Hasse, PhD Fellow at Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen. Stine Harrekilde, MA at Future Technology, Culture & Learning, Aarhus University is helping us carrying out and documenting the experiments as well as programming NAO in Choregraphe and Python and documenting the experiments.

NAO at Medical Museion

Conferences, seminars & videos

Maxine Sheets-Johnstone and Albert Johnstone in conversation with Cathrine Hasse and Theresa Schilhab  about robots and the tactile kinethetic body . From there they touch upon various topics such as robot ethics, tech-ignorance and robot caretakers.


Maxine Sheets-Johnstone and Albert A. Johnstone are both courtesy professors at Department of Philosophy, University of Oregon.


Tactility and ethics in robotics

Lecture with Maxine Sheets-Johnstone