The Penguin – on the boundary between pet and machine: An ecological perspective on the design of assistive robots for elderly care

Emanuela Marchetti*, William Kristian Juel, Rosalyn M. Langedijk, Leon Bodenhagen, Norbert Krüger

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Following current demographical trends, the aging population has emerged as a main target group for the development of assistive robots [16]. In current studies, assistive robots are seen as assistants, butlers or companion pets [2, 5]. These roles seem to assume an anthropomorphic or zoomorphic metaphor for the role of robots, acknowledging them intelligence and independence in performing daily tasks. In this paper we wish to reflect on the roles that assistive robots could play in elderly care, building on results gathered from a research through design investigation that we conducted as part of the SMOOTH (Seamless huMan-robot interactiOn fOr THe support of elderly people: www.smooth-robot.dk (Last seen 15/02/2019)) project. Our results suggest that the participants to our study seemed divided between understanding our robot as a tool but also as an intelligent being capable of social interaction. Therefore, we propose that assistive robots might be playing an ambiguous, evolving role in between that of a tool with a specific purpose and an intelligent being, like a pet, not equal and unthreatening to their human counterparts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Aspects of IT for the Aged Population. Social Media, Games and Assistive Environments. HCII 2019
EditorsGavriel Salvendy, Jia Zhou
VolumePart II
PublisherSpringer
Publication dateJul 2019
Pages425-443
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-22014-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-22015-0
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Event5th International Conference on Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population - Orlando, United States
Duration: 26. Jul 201931. Jul 2019
Conference number: 5

Conference

Conference5th International Conference on Human Aspects of IT for the Aged Population
Number5
CountryUnited States
CityOrlando
Period26/07/201931/07/2019
SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science
Volume11593
ISSN0302-9743

Keywords

  • Anthropomorphism
  • Assistive robots
  • Ecology
  • Elderly care

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