Werner, F.-L. (2020). Potential of socially assistive robotics for an application within the field of active and assisted living [Dissertation, Technische Universität Wien]. reposiTUm. https://doi.org/10.34726/hss.2020.76162
E193 - Institut für Visual Computing and Human-Centered Technology
Number of Pages:
Sozial Assistive Robotik; Active and Assisted Living; Nutzerzentrierte Evaluationsmethodologien
Socially Assistive Robotics; Active and Assisted Living; User-centred evaluation-methodologies
The not-too-distant future will see an increasing demand for elder care and a shortage of professional and informal caregivers. Ageing society would benefit from technological systems that are capable of supporting older people in a way that allows them to stay independent for longer in their own home. Socially assistive robots (SARs) [Feil-Seifer2005] could become an aid for older users as they introduce unique support prospects. They provide multimodal communication channels and thereby allow for intuitive interaction. Their physical embodiment was found to influence the user’s acceptance, adoption and perception and their ubiquitous mobility allows them to cover a large number of use cases that otherwise would have to be carried out by a variety of dedicated systems. Still, socially assistive robotics is a burgeoning field of science with yet unclear potential in terms of end-user acceptance, uptake by users and impacts on the quality of care and daily life. Solutions developed so far are mostly in a state of research and general technological readiness is low due to their inherent technical complexity. Current methods for development and evaluation of such solutions are rather vague and often not replicable, limiting the potentials of integration and spreading of SARs. This dissertation aims to enhance current methodologies for user-centred evaluation and to give indications of the potential of such systems in supporting older adults. Within the scope of this dissertation, a series of three prototypes of socially assistive robotic solutions that support older users and their caregivers was evaluated. A reiterating participative evaluation process was applied to investigate performance, acceptance and impact factors as well as methods to evaluate SARs. Each demonstrator was evaluated together with end-users and domain experts in user studies within laboratory and living-lab settings. Integrative methods for the user-centred evaluation of SARs in real-life-like settings were developed, evaluated and validated by means of user studies with the developed prototype systems. Results of the conducted user studies are given regarding the systems’ dependability, acceptance, applicability, motivational abilities and potential impacts for use by the target groups of older users, secondary end-users such as relatives, carers, care experts and therapists, and tertiary users such as managers of care centres. Design guidelines for future research clearly stating reusable methods and strategies to develop and evaluate assistive robotics are given, including recommendations for successful human-robot interaction within applied domains of assistive technologies.
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