Robot use cases for real needs: A large-scale ethnographic case study

Leon Bodenhagen 1 , Kerstin Fischer 2 , Trine S. Winther 3 , Rosalyn M. Langedijk 2  and Mette M. Skjøth 4
  • 1 SDU Robotics, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  • 2 Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, Sønderborg, Denmark
  • 3 SDU Robotics, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  • 4 Centre for Innovative Medical Technology, Odense University Hospital, Danish Centre for Health Economics, Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark


This article discusses the process of developing robot use cases using large-scale ethnographic observation as a starting point. In particular, during 296 hours of ethnographic observation of the workflows at seventeen departments at Odense University Hospital, 607 processes were described and subsequently annotated. The ethnographic method provided rich, contextually situated data that can be searched and categorized for use case development, which is illustrated on an example use case, describing the process and illustrating the type of data elicited, discussing the problems encountered and providing downloadable tools for other researchers interested in similar approaches to use case development.

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Paladyn. Journal of Behavioral Robotics is a fully peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original, high-quality research works and review articles on topics broadly related to neuronally and psychologically inspired robots and other behaving autonomous systems. The journal is indexed in SCOPUS.