Exploring the role of human-following robots in supporting the mobility and wellbeing of older people

Sci Rep. 2023 Apr 20;13(1):6512. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-33837-1.


With the ever-pressing challenges of societal ageing, robotic technologies for older people are increasingly portrayed as a solution for better independent living for longer. However, the application of human-following robots for elderly citizens has not yet been considered, and any prospective benefits offered by the technology for active ageing have previously been overlooked. This qualitative research aimed to explore older people’s needs and requirements towards the human-following robot through the reflexive thematic analysis of semi-structured interview data from 17 independent older adults, supported by a video-based demonstration of the robot. The results indicate that older people believed that human-following robot has the potential to provide social benefits to an independent older adult by encouraging walking trips and prompting social interaction with others in the community. Practical limitations and cost of the robot are barriers to adoption at present. The findings indicate that there is potential for human-following robots to support active ageing, through increasing opportunities for the social participation of an older adult, but further development of the robot is needed for this potential to be realised.

PMID:37081106 | PMC:PMC10119299 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-023-33837-1


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