Date of Original Version




Rights Management

Abstract or Table of Contents

Robots that work with people foster social relationships between people and systems. The home is an interesting place to study the adoption and use of these systems. The home provides challenges from both technical and interaction perspectives. In addition, the home is a seat for many specialized human behaviors and needs, and has a long history of what is collected and used to functionally, aesthetically, and symbolically fit the home.

To understand the social impact of robotic technologies, this paper presents an ethnographic study of consumer robots in the home. Six families’ experience of floor cleaning after receiving a new vacuum (a Roomba robotic vacuum or the Flair, a handheld upright) was studied. While the Flair had little impact, the Roomba changed people, cleaning activities, and other product use. In addition, people described the Roomba in aesthetic and social terms. The results of this study, while initial, generate implications for how robots should be designed for the home.


“© ACM, (2007). This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of ACM for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-robot interaction, {1-59593-617-2, (2007)}