International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 451–460

Design for Acceptability: Improving Robots’ Coexistence in Human Society



This paper is about design and acceptability of service robots that interact with individuals and coexist in environments inhabited by humans. In its current usage, we argue, the term acceptability is “user-specific” or “user-centred”, that is, it is based exclusively on the study of the relationships between a product and its users. In this paper, we argue that resistance towards service robots operating in public environments may also originate from properties which are not related to the user. For example, fear of the robot may generate resistance at the bystander level; lack of legal regulations for robots’ deployment may generate resistance at the legal level; concerns about possible job reductions caused by the robot may generate resistance at the worker level. Therefore, it is necessary to go beyond the “user-centred” notion of acceptability and widen its scope so as to include any kind of potential resistance and not just those originating from the users. By adopting a broader view of the possible critical factors affecting service robots’ acceptability, it will be possible to design robots that are good for users and acceptable to other people and society.


Acceptability Aesthetics Ethics Legal Social Human factors Service robot Design methodology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media BV 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARTS labScuola Superiore Sant’AnnaPontederaItaly

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