Designing for People in Human-Robot Collaboration

Guest Editors

• Stine S. Johansen, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
• Alan G. Burden, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
• Eike Schneiders, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
• Alexander N. Walzer, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Important dates

  • Deadline: December 15th, 2023 -> January 31st, 2024 (new hard deadline)
  • Notification to the authors: March 30th, 2024
  • Camera ready paper: April 30th, 2024
  • Publication of the special issue: May/June 2024 (tentatively)


This special issue is intended to investigate human-centred and design-led approaches to Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC). Robotic capabilities are diversifying and, with those, so are opportunities and challenges for HRC. With the intention of leveraging the complementary skills of people and robots, HRC has a wide range of applications, including manufacturing, emergency response, education, healthcare, and the home. Furthermore, with collaborative robots, or “cobots”, moving into “the wild”, research that goes beyond expanding mechanical robotic capabilities is becoming more critical. As robots are no longer isolated mechanical tools operating at their own pace and in their own confined space, we call for research on how to design for close collaboration between robots and people.
There is a need for diverse approaches to understand and design collaborative robotic systems from a human-centred rather than technology-driven perspective, thereby empowering people in the collaboration. Questions relevant to be answered for design-led, human-centred HRC include:
• What are methodological approaches to HRC research that emphasise the role of people?
• How can HRC become accessible to diverse populations, e.g., through conveying robot intent in various modalities or through novel interaction approaches?
• How can we design for various human-robot configurations, e.g., considering different robot behaviours in changing environments and situations?
• How can robots adapt to fluctuations in human performance and working rhythms?
Given the diverse range of applications for HRC, there is an opportunity for multiple disciplines to come together to explore the many dimensions of this emerging field. Collaboration between disciplines such as robotics, interaction design, human factors, psychology, architecture, and more is crucial for understanding and addressing the many challenges of designing inclusive, adaptable, trustworthy, effective, and safe HRC systems. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, we can develop more comprehensive solutions that leverage the strengths of each discipline and create a deeper understanding of the complexities involved in human-robot collaboration.
Investigating implications of people collaborating closely with robots is critical to shaping the future of HRC. These implications include ethical and social aspects of integrating robots into particular application domains and understanding the impact of robots in terms of, e.g., people’s daily routines and life experiences. Additionally, it is essential to examine how HRC can impact workforce dynamics and job roles as more organizations integrate robots into their operations. By exploring the implications of HRC, we can (1) identify challenges and opportunities and (2) develop strategies for ensuring that HRC systems benefit and support people. The guest editors encourage submissions that consider these aspects.

Topics of Interest

Topics of interest for this special issue  includes, but is not limited to:

• Human-centred investigations of HRC
• Design-led approaches to HRC
• Robot adaptability
• HRC “in the wild”, e.g., methodological perspectives and/or studies of particular domains
• Inclusive design and accessibility for HRC
• Critical and speculative design approaches to HRC
• Participatory design in HRC
• Ethical issues for HRC
• Sustainable design in HRC
• Design of trustworthy collaborative robots
• HRC and architectural methods and design
• Empirical and human-centred evaluations of HRC
• Mixed human-robot team collaboration
• Playfulness and/or gamification for HRC

Submission procedure 

All submissions must be original and may not be under review by another publication.
The manuscripts should be submitted anonymized either in .doc or in .pdf format.
All papers will be blindly peer-reviewed by at least two reviewers. Prospective participants are invited to submit a 8-30 pages paper (including authors’ information, abstract, all tables, figures, references, etc.).
The paper should be written according to the IxD&A authors’ guidelines .
Submission page -> link
(when submitting the paper please choose the section: ‘SI: Designing for People in Human-Robot Collaboration’)

For scientific advices and for any query please contact the guest-editor:

• stine [dot] johansen [at] qut [dot] edu [dot] au
• alan [dot] burden [at] qut [dot] edu [dot] au
• eike [dot] schneiders [at] nottingham [dot] ac [dot] uk
• alex [dot] walzer [at] ibi [dot] baug [dot] ethz [dot] ch

marking the subject as: IxD&A special issue on ‘Designing for People in Human-Robot Collaboration’.