Call: Synthetic Method and Robotic Design Workshop: A Focus on Morphology and Body Dynamics Facilitating Social Interaction (at ICDL-Epirob 2017)


Synthetic Method and Robotic Design Workshop
A Focus on Morphology and Body Dynamics Facilitating Social Interaction
@ICDL-Epirob 2017
, Lisbon, Portugal (
September, 18, 2017

L. Damiano (University of Messina, Messina, Italy)
I. Ocnarescu (Strate Design School, Paris, France)


Deadline: August, 7, 2017
Notification of Acceptance: August, 17, 2017


SMRD 2017 is a frontier cross-disciplinary workshop dedicated to discuss ways, goals, possibilities and limits of the application of the Synthetic Method to the design of body parts and dynamics for social robots that can facilitate their social interactions with humans.

Since the early beginnings of Cybernetics, the construction of embodied artificial agents – robots – has been strongly relying on the Synthetic or – according to current definitions – “Understanding by Building” Method, which supports and disciplines the modeling of living, cognitive, and social processes – lato sensu – through artificial systems. Its goal is twofold: testing scientific hypotheses about the mechanisms underlying the target processes, and building better artifacts, able to exploit these mechanisms to enhance their performances.

In the last decades, with the development of Cognitive, Developmental and Social Robotics, as well as Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), this method has been increasingly applied to social processes. The attempt is that of re-creating aspects of human and/or animal sociality in robotic agents, not only in order to test theories about related social dynamics, but also in order to build avant-garde “social robots” – robotic platforms capable of providing services to humans based on advanced social competences and interactions.

The SMRD workshop 2017 focuses on the applications of the Synthetic Method in the construction of social robots with a specific focus: human and/or animal body parts which, due to their morphology and related dynamics, are recognized to have a great potential relevance in (human-human, human-animal and) human-robot interaction. The goal is to create a cross-disciplinary forum dedicated to explore and discuss ways, goals, possibilities and limits of the application of the Synthetic Method to the design of socially relevant body parts and dynamics for social robots.

Some of the debated questions will be:

  • Is it possible to define a set of human and/or animal social body parts or dynamics that can be considered essential (pre-)conditions of “social presence” and/or “social competences” in robotic agents? Can they be implemented in robotic agents? If yes, how?
  • Should “artificial sociality” be rooted in human and/or animal sociality? Or should it be ideated and developed as a new form of sociality? What could be the origins and grounds of a specifically robotic sociality? What kind of morphology and body dynamics should it involve?
  • Is it advantageous to implement human and/or animal sociality in robots? To what extent? Are there situations in which the reference to human and/or animal sociality, based on human-like and/or animal-like morphology and body dynamics, results are disadvantageous? What are these situations? How can we avoid them?
  • Are there scientific (experimental) explorations that allow us to investigate the differences between robotic “social presence” and “social competences” grounded in human-like and /or animal-like sociality, and robotic “social presence” and “social competences” based on other grounds?

The workshop intends to bring together researchers interested in investigating one or more of these aspects of the development of the Synthetic Method in Robotic Design, with the aim of stimulating interdisciplinary dialogue and the creation of an active interdisciplinary scientific community.


If you would like to participate, please submit an abstract as a single PDF file (min 500, max 1000 words, bibliography included) by sending the file as an e-mail attachment to: ;

Please, indicate as subject: SB-AI 2017 @ ICDL-Epirob 2017 – Abstract Submission.

Reception of abstracts will be confirmed by an e-mail message.

Deadline: August, 07, 2017

The best abstracts will be selected by the program committee, composed by the organizers and additional specialists in the relevant research domains (currently under recruitment).

Authors will be notified for abstract acceptance on August, 17, 2017.

The accepted abstract will be published on the workshop website.

Depending on the contribution accepted, after the workshop we plan the edition of a journal special issue collecting papers based on the accepted contributions to the workshop.

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