Prepare to Design the Future
March 19–20, 2017: Training
March 20–22, 2017: Tutorials & Conference
San Francisco, CA

Designing good robots

Andra Keay (Silicon Valley Robotics)
3:35pm–4:15pm Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Beyond the screen
Location: Grand Ballroom
Level: Non-technical
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)

Who is this presentation for?

  • Designers, C-level decision makers, and those who work at robotics companies

Prerequisite knowledge

  • Basic design and computer-human interaction knowledge (useful but not required)

What you'll learn

  • Understand the role of design in current robotics
  • Gain an awareness of major principles of good robot design
  • Explore examples of best practices for designing robots in emerging industries


As robots become reality, there are calls for us to design ethical “good” robots—but all we really need are good design principles for robots.

Are today’s robots good? What are some current limitations in incorporating good design into robotics? How can we improve the situation.

Andra Keay introduces five principles for good robot design drawn from the best thinking in human-robot interaction (purpose, predictability, transparency, durability, and honesty) illustrated by examples of robotics best practices from very early-stage startups to well-known robots.

Photo of Andra Keay

Andra Keay

Silicon Valley Robotics

Andra Keay is the managing director of Silicon Valley Robotics, an industry group supporting innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. Andra is also founder of Robot Launch, global robotics startup competition, cofounder of Robot Garden hackerspace, mentor at hardware accelerators, a startup advisor, and an active angel investor in robotics startups. Andra is also a director at, the global site for news and views on robotics. Previously Andra was an ABC film, television, and radio technician and taught interaction design at the University of Technology, Sydney. Andra has keynoted at major international conferences, including USI 2016, WebSummit 2014 and 2015, Collision 2015 and 2016, Pioneers Festival 2014, JavaOne 2014, Solid 2014, and SxSW 2015. She was selected as an HRI Pioneer in 2010. Andra holds a BA in communication from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, and an MA in human-robot culture from the University of Sydney, Australia, where her work built on her background as a robot geek, STEM educator, and filmmaker.

Andra Keay on the O'Reilly Design Podcast