Service Robots in the Domestic Environment: A Study
of the Roomba Vacuum in the Home
by Jodi Forlizzi and Carl DiSalvo, Carnegie Mellon University
Domestic service robots have long been a staple of science fiction
and commercial visions of the future. Until recently, we have only
been able to speculate about what the experience of using such a
device might be. Current domestic service robots, introduced as
consumer products, allow us to make this vision a reality.
This paper presents ethnographic research on the actual use of
these products, to provide a grounded understanding of how
design can influence human-robot interaction in the home. We
used an ecological approach to broadly explore the use of this
technology in this context, and to determine how an autonomous,
mobile robot might “fit” into such a space. We offer initial
implications for the design of these products: first, the way the
technology is introduced is critical; second, the use of the
technology becomes social; and third, that ideally, homes and
domestic service robots must adapt to each other.
View the paper.