Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



We analyze the use of Silbot – a “dementia-prevention robot” – in a regional health center in South Korea. From our on-site observation of the Silbot classes, we claim that the efficacy of the robot class relies heavily on the “strained collaboration” between the human instructor and the robot. “Strained collaboration” refers to the ways in which the instructor works with the robot, attempting to compensate for the robot’s functional limitation and social awkwardness. In bringing Silbot into the classroom setting, the instructor employs characteristic verbal tones, bodily movements, and other pedagogical tactics. The instructor even talks over the robot, downplaying its interactional capacity. We conclude that any success of such robot programs requires a deeper understanding of the spatial and human context of robot use, including the role of human operators or mediators and also that this understanding should be reflected in the design, implementation, and evaluation of robot programs.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Alač, M.
    (2009) Moving android: On social robots and body-in-interaction. Social Studies of Science, 39(4), 491–528. doi:  10.1177/0306312709103476
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312709103476 [Google Scholar]
  2. Alač, M., Movellan, J., & Tanaka, F.
    (2011) When a robot is social: Spatial arrangements and multimodal semiotic engagement in the practice of social robotics. Social Studies of Science, 41(6), 893–926. doi:  10.1177/0306312711420565
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0306312711420565 [Google Scholar]
  3. Bemelmans, R., Gelderblom, G. J., Jonker, P., & De Witte, L.
    (2012) Socially assistive robots in elderly care: A systematic review into effects and effectiveness. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 13(2), 114–120. doi:  10.1016/j.jamda.2010.10.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2010.10.002 [Google Scholar]
  4. Blond, L.
    (2019) Studying robots outside the lab: HRI as ethnography. Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, 10(1), 117–127. doi:  10.1515/pjbr‑2019‑0007
    https://doi.org/10.1515/pjbr-2019-0007 [Google Scholar]
  5. Bruun, M. H., Hanghøj, S., & Hasse, C.
    (2015) Studying social robots in practiced places. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology, 19(2), 143–165. doi:  10.5840/techne20159833
    https://doi.org/10.5840/techne20159833 [Google Scholar]
  6. De Graaf, M. M., Allouch, S. B., & Klamer, T.
    (2015) Sharing a life with Harvey: Exploring the acceptance of and relationship-building with a social robot. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 1–14. doi:  10.1016/j.chb.2014.10.030
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2014.10.030 [Google Scholar]
  7. Fasola, J., & Matarić, M. J.
    (2013) A socially assistive robot exercise coach for the elderly. Journal of Human-Robot Interaction, 2(2), 3–32. doi:  10.5898/JHRI.2.2.Fasola
    https://doi.org/10.5898/JHRI.2.2.Fasola [Google Scholar]
  8. Guevarra, A. R.
    (2015) Techno-modeling care: racial branding, dis/embodied labor, and “cybraceros” in South Korea. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 36(3), 139–159. doi:  10.5250/fronjwomestud.36.3.0139
    https://doi.org/10.5250/fronjwomestud.36.3.0139 [Google Scholar]
  9. Hasse, C.
    (2013) Artefacts that talk: Mediating technologies as multistable signs and tools. Subjectivity, 6(1), 79–100. doi:  10.1057/sub.2012.29
    https://doi.org/10.1057/sub.2012.29 [Google Scholar]
  10. (2015) Multistable roboethics. InJ. K. B. O. Friis & Robert P. Crease (Ed.), Technoscience and postphenomenology: The manhattan papers (pp.169–188), Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Iwamura, Y., Shiomi, M., Kanda, T., Ishiguro, H., & Hagita, N.
    (2011) Do elderly people prefer a conversational humanoid as a shopping assistant partner in supermarkets?. InProceedings of the 6th International Conference on Human-robot Interaction, 449–456. doi:  10.1145/1957656.1957816
    https://doi.org/10.1145/1957656.1957816 [Google Scholar]
  12. Jasanoff, S., & Kim, S. H.
    (Eds.) (2015) Dreamscapes of modernity: Sociotechnical imaginaries and the fabrication of power. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226276663.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226276663.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  13. Jenkins, S., & Draper, H.
    (2015) Care, monitoring, and companionship: Views on care robots from older people and their carers. International Journal of Social Robotics, 7(5), 673–683. doi:  10.1007/s12369‑015‑0322‑y
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-015-0322-y [Google Scholar]
  14. Jøranson, N., Pedersen, I., Rokstad, A. M. M., & Ihlebæk, C.
    (2015) Effects on symptoms of agitation and depression in persons with dementia participating in robot-assisted activity: a cluster-randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 16(10), 867–873. doi:  10.1016/j.jamda.2015.05.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2015.05.002 [Google Scholar]
  15. Kim, G. H., Jeon, S., Im, K., Kwon, H., Lee, B. H., Kim, G. Y., ... & Na, D. L.
    (2015) Structural brain changes after traditional and robot-assisted multi-domain cognitive training in community-dwelling healthy elderly. PLOS One, 10(4), e0123251. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0123251
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0123251 [Google Scholar]
  16. Leite, I., Martinho, C., & Paiva, A.
    (2013) Social robots for long-term interaction: a survey. International Journal of Social Robotics, 5(2), 291–308. doi:  10.1007/s12369‑013‑0178‑y
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-013-0178-y [Google Scholar]
  17. Levi-Strauss, C.
    (1966) The savage mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Mindell, D. A.
    (2011) Digital apollo: Human and machine in spaceflight. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. (2015) Our robots, ourselves: Robotics and the myths of autonomy. New York: Viking.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. National Planning Advisory Committee
    National Planning Advisory Committee (2017) Mun-chae-in-chŏng-pu Kuk-chŏng-un-yŏng 5kae-nyŏn Kye-hoek. [Moon jae-in administration: Five-year plan for the state affairs]. Government of South Korea.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Newhart, V. A., & Olson, J. S.
    (2017) My student is a robot: How schools manage telepresence experiences for students. InProceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 342–347. doi:  10.1145/3025453.3025809
    https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025809 [Google Scholar]
  22. Orr, J.
    (1996) Talking about machines: An ethnography of a modern job. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Oudshoorn, N.
    (2008) Diagnosis at a distance: the invisible work of patients and healthcare professionals in cardiac telemonitoring technology. Sociology of Health & Illness, 30(2), 272–288. doi:  10.1111/j.1467‑9566.2007.01032.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.01032.x [Google Scholar]
  24. Pu, L., Moyle, W., Jones, C., & Todorovic, M.
    (2019) The effectiveness of social robots for older adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. The Gerontologist, 59(1), e37–e51. doi:  10.1093/geront/gny046
    https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny046 [Google Scholar]
  25. Robocare
    Robocare (2014, May15). Features and Various Functions of Silbot-3. [Video file]. Retrieved fromhttps://youtu.be/Mo66-BM_2bQ
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Robocare
    Robocare. (n.d.). SILBOT-3: The ideal intellectual robotic platform for robotic research and application. Retrieved fromrobocare.co.kr/en/index.php/silbot/
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Šabanović, S.
    (2010) Robots in society, society in robots. International Journal of Social Robotics, 2(4), 439–450. doi:  10.1007/s12369‑010‑0066‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-010-0066-7 [Google Scholar]
  28. Šabanović, S., Bennett, C. C., & Lee, H. R.
    (2014) Towards culturally robust robots: A critical social perspective on robotics and culture. InProceedings of the ACM/IEEE Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) Workshop on Culture-Aware Robotics.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Shapin, S.
    (1989) The invisible technician. American scientist, 77(6), 554–563.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Shin, H.
    (2016) Will robots save us? Disaster robotics and sociotechnical imaginary in South Korea. Master’s thesis, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
  31. Shin, H. & Jeon, C.
    (2018) No-in-kwa lo-pos-ŭn ŏ-ttŏh-ke man-na-nŭn-ka: Sang-ho-chak-yong-ŭi cho-kŏn-kwa mae-kae-cha-ŭi yŏk-hal [When Robots Meet the Elderly: The Contexts of Interaction and the Role of Mediators]. Journal of Science and Technology Studies, 18(2), 135–179. [in Korean]
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Sone, Y.
    (2016) Japanese robot culture: Performance, imagination, and modernity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. South Korean Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution
    South Korean Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (2017) Hyŏk-sin-sŏng-chang-ŭl wi-han sa-lam chung-sim-ŭi 4ch’a san-ŏp-hyŏk-myŏng tae-ŭng-kye-hoek [The people-centered response plan for the 4th industrial revolution to promote innovation growth]. Government of South Korea.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Suchman, L.
    (2007) Human-machine reconfigurations: Plans and situated actions (2nd ed.), New York: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Sung, J., Christensen, H. I., & Grinter, R. E.
    (2009) Robots in the wild: Understanding long-term use. InProceedings of the 4th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction, 45–52. doi:  10.1145/1514095.1514106
    https://doi.org/10.1145/1514095.1514106 [Google Scholar]
  36. Tamura, T., Yonemitsu, S., Itoh, A., Oikawa, D., Kawakami, A., Higashi, Y., Fujimooto, T., Nakajima, K.
    (2004) Is an entertainment robot useful in the care of elderly people with severe dementia?. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 59(1), M83–M85. doi:  10.1093/gerona/59.1.M83
    https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/59.1.M83 [Google Scholar]
  37. Tanaka, F., Cicourel, A., & Movellan, J. R.
    (2007) Socialization between toddlers and robots at an early childhood education center. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(46), 17954–17958. doi:  10.1073/pnas.0707769104
    https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0707769104 [Google Scholar]
  38. Vertesi, J.
    (2015) Seeing like a rover: How robots, teams, and images craft knowledge of Mars. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 10.7208/chicago/9780226156019.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226156019.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  39. Wada, K., Shibata, T., Saito, T., & Tanie, K.
    (2004) Effects of robot-assisted activity for elderly people and nurses at a day service center. Proceedings of the IEEE, 92(11), 1780–1788. doi:  10.1109/JPROC.2004.835378
    https://doi.org/10.1109/JPROC.2004.835378 [Google Scholar]
  40. Westlund, K. J., Gordon, G., Spaulding, S., Lee, J. J., Plummer, L., Martinez, M., Madhurima, D., & Breazeal, C.
    (2016) Lessons from teachers on performing HRI studies with young children in schools. InProceedings of the 11th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction, 383–390.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Willis, M.
    (2018) Human centered robotics: designing valuable experiences for social robots. InProceedings of HRI2018 Workshop (Social Robots in the Wild). doi:https://doi.org/10.475/123_4
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Zafrani, O., & Nimrod, G.
    (2018) Towards a holistic approach to studying human–robot interaction in later life. The Gerontologist, 59(1), e26–e36. doi:  10.1093/geront/gny077
    https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny077 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

Most Cited

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error