Design Principles for Robot-Assisted Feeding in Social Contexts

A. Nanavati, P. Alves-Oliveira, T. Schrenk, E. K. Gordon, M. Cakmak, and S. S. Srinivasa, “Design Principles for Robot-Assisted Feeding in Social Contexts,” Mar. 2023, [Online]. Available at:


Social dining, i.e., eating with/in company, is replete with meaning and cultural significance. Unfortunately, for the 1.8 million Americans with motor impairments who cannot eat without assistance, challenges restrict them from enjoying this pleasant social ritual. In this work, we identify the needs of participants with motor impairments during social dining and how robot-assisted feeding can address them. Using speculative videos that show robot behaviors within a social dining context, we interviewed participants to understand their preferences. Following a community-based participatory research method, we worked with a community researcher with motor impairments throughout this study. We contribute (a) insights into how a robot can help overcome challenges in social dining, (b) design principles for creating robot-assisted feeding systems, (c) and an implementation guide for future research in this area. Our key finding is that robots’ unique assistive qualities can address challenges people with motor impairments face during social dining, promoting empowerment and belonging.

BibTeX Entry

  title = {Design Principles for Robot-Assisted Feeding in Social Contexts},
  author = {Nanavati, Amal and Alves-Oliveira, Patricia and Schrenk, Tyler and Gordon, Ethan K. and Cakmak, Maya and Srinivasa, Siddhartha S.},
  year = {2023},
  month = mar,
  booktitle = {ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)},
  note = {Best Design Paper Award},
  type = {conference},
  url = {},
  video = {}