So, Where’s My Robot?

Thoughts on Social Machine Learning

Age and Social Robots

The HFA lab at Georgia Tech has drawn some interesting conclusions from a recent study–older adults may be more open to robots monitoring and assisting them in their homes compared to younger adults.

Their survey asked people about their willingness to have a robot in their home doing a variety of tasks, and older adults were more likely to say “Warn about a danger in my home” or “Inform my doctor if I have a medical emergency,” were important tasks.

This goes against the idea that older adults are generally assumed to be late adopters of technology. It is possible that the ability to live independently rather than move to an assisted living center will be a huge motivating factor that makes older adults the early adopters of social robots in the home.

Perhaps roboticists should be focusing more energy on designing for older adults as end-users.  Another HFA study shows that at least in the realm of recognizing an emotional expression displayed by a robot, age is a significant factor.  This is likely one of many aspects of social robot design that might differ with age.

October 21st, 2009 Posted by | HRI, In the News | no comments

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