Was Vector a Companion during Shutdown? Insights from an Ethnographic Study in Austria

Christiana Tsiourti, Anna Pillinger, Astrid Weiss

Publikation: Beitrag in Buch/KonferenzbandBeitrag in Konferenzband


The COVID-19 pandemic led to shutdowns in several countries all over the world, including Austria (March to April 2020). In February 2020 we initiated an ethnographic study to explore the adoption of the commercially available robot Anki Vector in eight households. The fourth household visit of this study happened right during the shutdown, and was thus conducted online. We were particularly curious to see if being isolated at home increased (or changed) peoples' engagement with Vector (as we expected people to have more time with the robot and a higher need for entertainment and companionship). Our interviews revealed that novel use cases emerged during the shutdown: a single-person household found a way to integrate Vector in their Yoga routine, and video calls with family and friends. However, we did not find a qualitative indication that engagement with Vector increased during the shutdown period. This goes in line with findings from fellow researchers suggesting that commercially available service robots fail to engage their users in the longer term.
Titel des SammelwerksProceedings of the 8th International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction
Herausgeber*innen Association for Computing Machinery
ErscheinungsortNew York, NY, USA
Seiten269 - 271
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2020