Robot Atta! – The Future Of Robot Experience Design

Before we start… in Japanese, the ‘Atta!’ exclamation is used when something has been finally found.


Exploring the future of ‘Robot Experience Design’

Jaime Garcia, a product designer and Senser in Tokyo, reached out to engage The Sense Network on a project he was embarking on with Japanese robotics company, Incubion. Together, they were exploring the future of ‘Robot Experience Design’ so that, irrespective of whether a person is tech-savvy or not, everyone in the world has the opportunity to learn about what robots are out there, as well as what makes them special. Ultimately allowing us all to recognise and identify real-world applications for future human-robot collaborations.

However at such an early stage of the project, they knew they were lacking a global footprint of perspectives to expand their minds. They wanted to go wide and go global to build a robust foundation of understanding of consumers’ perception of robots, and the robotic landscape, to ensure the product they were designing was created with the end user front of mind.

Shoko Takahashi, CEO and Founder of Incubion
Shoko Takahashi, CEO and Founder of Incubion

How talking to The Sense Network gave them a global viewpoint

Incubion were well aware of the contrasting views that the East and West hold about robotics. On the one hand, they are thought to provide opportunities for the people we care about to live a more meaningful life. On the other, they are seen as a menace that may eventually take over human roles in society.

Jaime says, “these polar views are simply the consequence of being walking blindfolded towards the introduction of a near future. What’s important is that we’re educated. We need to increase robot literacy by providing accessible, accurate and up-to-date information to responsibly evolve the conversation for the future.”

In short, their team needed smart, diverse and global perspectives to help them find and design better, more conscious human-robot collaborations for every aspect of our daily activities, work, interactions and art. Longterm, Incubion want to be the reason for this exclamation: Robot, Atta!

Incubion Robotic Art
Artistic applications of robotics

How The Sense Network expanding Incubion’s minds

“The response from The Sense Network was so invaluable for us; not only because the global footprint of their responses, but also because their answers and opinions were far more diverse than we originally expected. They really helped broaden our perspective at this early stage.” – Shoko, CEO of Incubion

The Sense Network were probed about their current experience and understanding of robots and the robotics landscape. From the research and discovery phase, to the application of robotics products and services themselves, The Sense Network’s smart, reflective and articulate input helped challenge the team’s world view and build confidence in the design of stage two.

Here are just a few learnings that Sensers from across the world helped the Incubion team formalise:

    • There’s power with the people: Humans look to rely on other humans before starting any search into robotics – word of mouth is key to build trust in the discovery phase. The more specialised the group of peers is, the more refined the search can become. However with specialist knowledge also comes an unavoidable bias about the application of the technology within these fields and opportunities for wider applications can be missed.
      How might we best harness feedback from diverse perspectives, skillsets and professions to design a product that builds trust and encourages exploration across industry and application?

 

    • Understanding the niche in order to go mainstream: Robots are still relatively niche in our wider lexicon and applications, and the discovery journey tends to only move forward if those interested in robotics solutions fully understand the specifications they are looking for in advance (i.e. the search for a solution for a specific project/problem). It became clear that consultants and researchers in the space are indeed key players that hunt for this information. However it’s actually the general office workers and designers that are (or will be) the regular users long term. The Sense Network helped Incubion realise the potential in designing a product that allows both groups to explore the potential of robots, regardless of the problem/project.
      How might we learn from the current niche needs and behaviours to better design for a more mainstream audience in the future – irrespective of the technological knowledge or challenge at hand?

 

    • It’s not you, it’s me:  The Sense Network expanded Incubion’s minds and kept them thinking… Is the problem really the way we specifically search for robots? Or instead, is it the way humans search in general?
      How might we challenge our own biases throughout the project to consider and explore wider human attitudes and behaviours that might affect the way we search for new technologies? 

 

What’s next? Atta!

With Stage One of Project Atta! complete, Incubion will now be looking to conduct in person interviews with select Sensers across the globe as they dive deeper into the discovery phase of consumer journeys. These detailed learnings will then lead Jaime and the Incubion team into their ideation phase, where they will start to map all The Sense Network’s feedback into tangible designs for what the Atta! product/service could look like as it aims to increase robot literacy around the world.

Those Sensers that volunteered their time to input in Stage One will also be provided exclusive access to the report so watch this space!

Watch this space – we will be following their journey closely and sharing stories with you all as we hear them!

 


In the meantime read more about Incubion here and follow them on Facebook here.