Human-centred design methods : developing scenarios for robot assisted play informed by user panels and field trials
This article describes the user-centred development of play scenarios for robot assisted play, as part of the multidisciplinary IROMEC1 project that develops a novel robotic toy for children with special needs. The project investigates how robotic toys can become social mediators, encouraging children with special needs to discover a range of play styles, from solitary to collaborative play (with peers, carers/teachers, parents, etc.). This article explains the developmental process of constructing relevant play scenarios for children with different special needs. Results are presented from consultation with panel of experts (therapists, teachers, parents) who advised on the play needs for the various target user groups and who helped investigate how robotic toys could be used as a play tool to assist in the children’s development. Examples from experimental investigations are provided which have informed the development of scenarios throughout the design process. We conclude by pointing out the potential benefit of this work to a variety of research projects and applications involving human–robot interactions.