Children’s imaginaries of human-robot interaction in healthcare

Núria Vallès-Peris, Cecilio Angulo, Miquel Domènech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This paper analyzes children’s imaginaries of Human-Robots Interaction (HRI) in the context of social robots in healthcare, and it explores ethical and social issues when designing a social robot for a children’s hospital. Based on approaches that emphasize the reciprocal relationship between society and technology, the analytical force of imaginaries lies in their capacity to be embedded in practices and interactions as well as to affect the construction and applications of surrounding technologies. The study is based on a participatory process carried out with six-year-old children for the design of a robot. Imaginaries of HRI are analyzed from a care-centered approach focusing on children’s values and practices as related to their representation of care. The conceptualization of HRI as an assemblage of interactions, the prospective bidirectional care relationships with robots, and the engagement with the robot as an entity of multiple potential robots are the major findings of this study. The study shows the potential of studying imaginaries of HRI, and it concludes that their integration in the final design of robots is a way of including ethical values in it.
Original languageEnglish
Article number970
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2018


  • Children’s hospital
  • Ethics of care
  • Imaginaries
  • Participatory process
  • Social robots

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