A Tactical Urbanist Approach to Facilitate Exploratory HRI Research in Public Spaces
European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)
Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) research in public spaces often encounters delays and restrictions due to the need for sophisticated technology, regulatory approvals, and public or community support. To remedy these concerns, we suggest HRI can apply the core philosophy of Tactical Urbanism, a concept from urban planning, to catalyze HRI in public spaces, gather community feedback and information on the feasibility of future implementations of robots in the public, and create social impact and forge connections with the community while spreading awareness about robots as a public resource. As a case study, we share tactics used, and strategies followed in conducting a pop-up style study of ’A robotic mailbox to raise awareness about homelessness.’ We discuss benefits of the approach that could enable the social studies of HRI not only to match but to precede, the fast-paced technological advancement and deployment of robots in public spaces.