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Assistive robotic help gains acceptance in homes

Posted: 29 Oct 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:robot  home  assistance 

A study by Georgia Tech researchers released this week found growing acceptance of "assistive robotic" help over human assistance for performing routine but taxing chores like cleaning, laundering and taking out the trash. The survey of respondents ages 65 to 93 found a willingness to adopt robotics technology for 48 common household tasks.

Respondents were less enthusiastic about robotic assistance with personal care like getting dressed and eating or social activities.

"The people we interviewed were very enthusiastic and optimistic about robots in their daily lives," said Georgia Tech researcher Cory-Ann Smarr. "They were also very particular in their preferences, something that can assist researchers as they determine what to design and introduce in the home."

The results of the robotics study were presented this week at a meeting of the Human Factors Ergonomics Society in Boston.

 Robotics study

The Georgia Tech assistive robotics study. Source: Georgia Tech

The study also found that respondents expressed a willingness to use robotics to remind them to take medication, but preferred human assistance in administering medications.

Most of the respondents in the study said they were independent, and 75 per cent said they are comfortable with technologies like cell phones.

The Georgia Tech assistive robotics study is funded by the National Science Foundation. A future study will focus on elderly adults who need assistance with household tasks.

Meanwhile, "Researchers should be careful not to generalise preferences when designing assistive robots," concluded Wendy Rogers, another Georgia Tech researcher.

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