Elderly open to using robots selectively

Oct. 31, 2012 at 9:35 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

BOSTON, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The elderly are open to having robots help with some tasks, but when it comes to getting dressed, eating and bathing they want humans, U.S. researchers say.

Cory-Ann Smarr and Professor Wendy Rogers of the Georgia Institute of Technology and colleagues showed adults ages 65-93 a video of a robot's capabilities and then they interviewed them about their willingness for assistance with 48 common household tasks.

The study found the older adults generally preferred robotic help over human help for chores such as cleaning the kitchen, doing laundry and taking out the trash.

However, when it came to help getting dressed, eating and bathing, or social activities such as calling family and friends or entertaining guests, the adults tended to prefer human assistance over robotic assistance, Smarr said.

Smarr and Rogers also noticed preferences varied across tasks, such as medication.

For instance, adults said they are willing to use a robot for reminders to take medicine, but they said they are more comfortable if a person helps them decide which medication to take.

"It seems that older people are less likely to trust a robot with decision-making tasks than with monitoring or physical assistance," Rogers said in a statement.

The findings are being presented at the Human Factors Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting in Boston.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories