Copyright 2020 -

Nordic Network of Interaction Studies on Communication Impairment (NISCI)

The network was built in 2014 on the grounds of an exploratory workshop series on “Communicative impairment in interaction. A Nordic perspective on the social organization of disordered talk” funded by the Nordic Research Council for Humanities and the Social Science (NOS-HS). The Network aims to gather Nordic expertise on communication impairment from an interactive or conversation analytical perspective. At the moment the group is made up of scholars working in Denmark, Finland and Sweden but the network is open to those in other countries as well.

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Social Robots for Active Living

The demographic development shows the need for technical solutions to previously social work areas due to the simple fact that in the long run not enough people will be available in the work force. A crucial area in an ageing society is the care and treatment of people with various challenges (e.g. dementia, traumatic brain injury, etc.) who should be encouraged and supported in a self guided life. One possibility in this complex and challenging endeavor is the use of robots as social companions that allow for triggering cognitive and social activities. On the technical side this opens up a plethora of challenging research questions ranging from engineering aspects like social signal processing or path finding to interaction design aspects like social behavior modeling or emotional interactions. Additionally, the introduction of robots into areas that are so far viewed as the sole realm of human interactions gives rise to ethical considerations and uncertainties about the acceptance of these systems. This network event brought together researchers from Japan and Europe for discussing the future directions of social robots as tools for supporting active living.

Build Your Own Robot

Build your own robot for independent living is an exploratory project with the overall goal of developing a concept of social robots as do-it-yourself aid that can be broadly used by different groups of people with cognitive and physical impairments. Based on empirical data from a residential home for people suffering from severe impairments due to acquired brain injury, the project focuses on developing robots for daily cognitive guiding and reminding tasks. The vision for the project is to create a toolbox for developing individualized solutions that match the need of each specific citizen. By creating the possibility for experimenting with the task of building real and functional robots, we aim at increasing citizens’ independence and quality of life, while at the same time strengthening social competences and supporting the feeling of being in control over one’s own life. The project thus has two layers: (i) Co-creation of individualized social robots, and (ii) evaluation of the robot in use.

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Technologies to Move

The Technologies to Move project is interested in technological devices that help people with acquired brain injury become mobile, especially gaining the ability to walk. Therefore, we undertook a user-centered, video-ethnographic innovation study on the practical use of walking aids in private and institutional settings.

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Co-Design of a Calendar- and Journal App for Citizens with Aphasia

The focus of this project was co-designing a calendar- and journal iPad app for an aphasic citizen in collaboration with her and her caregivers. The purpose of the system is to give the co-designer the possibility to plan and better organize her daily life independently. Additionally, the system allows her to document events taking place during the day and use it as a means of telling her own story to others.


The Telenoid project was undertaken in close cooperation with SOSU Nord Future Lab. The Telenoid is a teleoperated robot aiming to support people with dementia. We engaged in two different studies both directed to the social and interactional dimension of conversations with the Telenoid (R4). The first analysed existing video recordings from experimental settings of Telenoid conversations with elderly people living with dementia. The experiments were conducted by SOSU Nord Future Lab. The study focused on social and interactional consequences, analysing identity construction and the interactional management of communication as well as technical problems. In another project we engaged in an exploratory and participatory study at Senhjerneskadecenter Nord. Here the Telenoid was introduced to a new user group: people with acquired brain injury (ABI). The study aimed to understand how individuals with ABI react to a Telenoid and if and how they could imagine integrating the technology into their everyday lives.

Ethnography of Corridor: Supporting social interaction among adolescents with multiple handicaps

The study is carried out in collaboration with Neurocenter Østerskoven, a treatment and education centre in Denmark for adolescents with moderate to serious brain injuries due to damage of the brain before, under or briefly after birth. It was found that these adolescents often spent their spare time in the corridor looking for social contact. In an ethnographic and participatory design project we aim for technological solutions that support the adolescents in engaging and establishing social interaction with each other, an ability they often have problems with. Thereby the technology is meant to a) support the adolescents in their social, cognitive and physical abilities, b) takes their special needs into account and c) fits into the common practices of the corridor.


The shopping project analyses negotiations processes during the weekly grocery shopping tours of a person with acquired brain injury and her institutional caregivers. The classical dilemma of care giving (the acknowledgement of individual choices and the responsibility of the persons safety as well as institutional constraints) set the agenda for this leisuretime activity. The multimodal analysis of video recording describes the situated and embodied negotiation processes during product selections and gives a deep understanding of the interplay of individual wishes and desires for a certain product and the institutional rationales and consequences that are entangled with this.