Background: As research examining human-robot interaction moves from the laboratory to the real world, studies seeking to examine how people interact with robots face the question of which robotic platform to employ to collect data in situ. To facilitate the study of a broad range of individuals, from children to clinical populations, across diverse environments, from homes to schools, a robust, reproducible, low-cost and easy-to-use robotic platform is needed. Methods: We describe how a commercially available off-the-shelf robot, Cozmo, can be used to study embodied human-robot interactions in a wide variety of settings, including the user’s home. We describe the steps required to use this affordable and flexible platform for longitudinal human-robot interaction studies. First, we outline the technical specifications and requirements of this platform and accessories. We then show how log files containing detailed data on the human-robot interaction can be collected and extracted. Finally, we detail the types of information that can be retrieved from these data. Results: We present findings from a validation that mapped the behavioural repertoire of the Cozmo robot and introduce an accompanying interactive emotion classification tool to use with this robot. This tool combined with the data extracted from the log files can provide the necessary details to understand the psychological consequences of long-term interactions. Conclusions: This low-cost robotic platform has the potential to provide the field with a variety of valuable new possibilities to study the social cognitive processes underlying human-robot interactions within and beyond the research laboratory, which are user-driven and unconstrained in both time and place.