Gateway Event - Social Robots for Youth Participation in Digital Civics


Social robots can be designed to entail persuasive capabilities in various application domains. We investigate how social robots can be designed to motivate and facilitate youth in civic participation. In our RoboCivics project, social robots are co-designed with the youth (focus age range 15-24 years) to gain understanding of the youth’s perspectives to desirable forms of social robot interaction, with sustainability as the broad application domain. User trials take place in real contexts of use such as youth spaces and schools. The results of RoboCivics help youth become more active societally and support creation of acceptable designs in the future society populated with social robots. We present some of our research findings and discuss the opportunities of the broader topic of human-centered AI for sustainability.


Kaisa Väänänen is a full professor of Human-Computer Interaction in Tampere University, Finland. Kaisa has established and leads the research group of Human-Centered Technology, with the aim of creating design-relevant understanding of user experience for digital solutions advancing sustainability. For over 20 years, Kaisa has led over 30 research projects, most of which in collaboration with companies and other societal stakeholders. Kaisa’s passion is to create social impact based on novel combinations of academic and pragmatic disciplines. Kaisa is the general co-chair of CHI 2023.


Kirsikka Kaipainen is a postdoctoral researcher at Tampere University and the project manager of RoboCivics. Her current research focuses on the user experience and acceptability of social robots for societal participation among youth. Her background is in wellbeing technologies, and she is especially interested in technology-aided means to promote sustainability and wellbeing.

Monday, 6 June, 2022 - 15:00 to 16:30
Kaisa Väänänen and Kirsikka Kaipainen
University of Tampere
Seminar Room, Ground Floor, Bayes Centre, University of Edinburgh