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Hannah Pelikan


I study robots in everyday interaction.

Coordinating human and robot bodies

Working at the intersection of conversation analysis and human-computer interaction, I map out interactional challenges that machines face when they enter real-world contexts. In my PhD project, I focus on sound as a resource for coordination of humans and robots in smooth ways. My work contributes to design of robots that are more intuitive to interact with.

Interaction is fundamentally social, and we cannot stay out of it by “doing nothing” since even inaction is treated as socially accountable. Imagine you ask someone a question and they do not react – it is likely that you will then repeat your question. If they continue to stay silent, you might conclude that they deliberately ignore you (and might confront them). A robot that acts at odds with human expectations of what should happen next is hard to interact and collaborate with. My work sheds light on interactional challenges for robots in real-life settings such as roads, workplaces and homes.

Conversation analysis works with video data to get detailed insights into how humans and machines interact on a moment-by-moment basis. I have collected data in a variety of settings, such as the home, in regular traffic and in surgical operating rooms. For my thesis, I work with Cozmo toy robots and autonomous buses by Navya and EasyMile. I explore how sound can enable smooth interaction and embodied coordination between robots and humans.

Academic background and role

Academic background

I have a Bachelor of Science in Cognitive Science from University of Osnabrück in Germany. I received my Master of Science in Interaction Technology from University of Twente in the Netherlands and was awarded the graduation award by the faculty for electrical engineering, mathematics and computer science for my thesis on how surgical robots affect teamwork in the operating room. In fall 2017, I was a visiting researcher in the Robots in Groups Lab at Cornell University, USA. I am a PhD student at Linköping University since November 2018.


I lecture on robots in healthcare in a course on E-Health for students at the medical and technical faculty. I am a tutor for computer science students in a course on user-centered programming.


Voluntary work

Secretary for Linköping University PhD Student Network LiUPhD. 



Hannah Pelikan (2024) Transcribing human-robot interaction: methodological implications of participating machines Ethnomethodological conversation analysis in motion: emerging methods and new technologies, p. 42-62 Continue to DOI
Hannah Pelikan, Stuart Reeves, Marina N. Cantarutti (2024) Encountering Autonomous Robots on Public Streets Proceedings of the 2024 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI ’24), p. 11 pages- Continue to DOI


Hannah Pelikan, Leelo Keevallik (2023) Learning from humans: How research on vocalizations can inform the conceptualization of robot sound Sound and Robotics: Speech, Non-verbal audio and Robotic Musicianship Continue to DOI
Leelo Keevallik, Hannah Pelikan (2023) F-formation The Encyclopedia of Terminology for Conversation Analysis and Interactional Linguistics Continue to DOI
Frederic Robinson, Hannah Pelikan, Katsumi Watanabe, Luisa Damiano, Oliver Bown, Mari Velonaki (2023) Introduction to the Special Issue on Sound in Human-Robot Interaction ACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction, Vol. 12, Article 45 Continue to DOI




Online presence


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Google Scholar

My profile on Google Scholar.