[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our long-term goal is to enable a robot to engage in partner dance for use in rehabilitation therapy, assessment, diagnosis, and scientific investigations of two-person whole-body motor coordination. Partner dance has been shown to improve balance and gait in people with Parkinson's disease and in older adults, which motivates our work. During partner dance, dance couples rely heavily on haptic interaction to convey motor intent such as speed and direction. In this paper, we investigate the potential for a wheeled mobile robot with a human-like upper-body to perform partnered stepping with people based on the forces applied to its end effectors. Blindfolded expert dancers (N=10) performed a forward/backward walking step to a recorded drum beat while holding the robot's end effectors. We varied the admittance gain of the robot's mobile base controller and the stiffness of the robot's arms. The robot followed the participants with low lag (M=224, SD=194 ms) across all trials. High admittance gain and high arm stiffness conditions resulted in significantly improved performance with respect to subjective and objective measures. Biomechanical measures such as the human hand to human sternum distance, center-of-mass of leader to center-of-mass of follower (CoM-CoM) distance, and interaction forces correlated with the expert dancers' subjective ratings of their interactions with the robot, which were internally consistent (Cronbach's α=0.92). In response to a final questionnaire, 1/10 expert dancers strongly agreed, 5/10 agreed, and 1/10 disagreed with the statement "The robot was a good follower." 2/10 strongly agreed, 3/10 agreed, and 2/10 disagreed with the statement "The robot was fun to dance with." The remaining participants were neutral with respect to these two questions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The population of older adults in America is expected to reach an unprecedented level in the near future. Some of them have difficulties with performing daily tasks and caregivers may not be able to match pace with the increasing need for assistance. Robots, especially mobile manipulators, have the potential for assisting older adults with daily tasks enabling them to live independently in their homes. However, little is known about their views of robot assistance in the home. Twenty-one independently living older Americans (65-93 years old) were asked about their preferences for and attitudes toward robot assistance via a structured group interview and questionnaires. In the group interview, they generated a diverse set of 121 tasks they would want a robot to assist them with in their homes. These data, along with their questionnaire responses, suggest that the older adults were generally open to robot assistance but were discriminating in their acceptance of assistance for different tasks. They preferred robot assistance over human assistance for tasks related to chores, manipulating objects, and information management. In contrast, they preferred human assistance to robot assistance for tasks related to personal care and leisure activities. Our study provides insights into older adults' attitudes and preferences for robot assistance with everyday living tasks in the home which may inform the design of robots that will be more likely accepted by older adults.
No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · International Journal of Social Robotics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As the older adult population grows and becomes more diverse, so will their needs and preferences for living environments. Many adults over 65 years of age require some assistance [1, 2]; yet it is important for their feelings of well-being that the assistance not restrict their autonomy . Not only is autonomy correlated with quality of life , autonomy enhancement may improve functionality [2, 5]. The goal of this paper is to provide guidance for the development of technology to enhance autonomy and quality of life for older adults. We explore the potential for robotics to meet these needs. We evaluated older adults' diverse living situations and the predictors of residential moves to higher levels of care in the United States. We also examined older adults' needs for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), and medical conditions when living independently or in a long-term care residence. By providing support for older adults, mobile manipulator robots may reduce need-driven, undesired moves from residences with lower levels of care (i.e., private homes, assisted living) to those with higher levels of care (i.e., skilled nursing).
No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · International Journal of Social Robotics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Physical human-robot interaction has the potential to be useful in a number of domains, but this will depend on how people respond to the robot’s actions. For some domains, such as healthcare, a robot is likely to initiate physical contact with a person’s body. In order to investigate how people respond to this type of interaction, we conducted an experiment with 56 people in which a robotic nurse autonomously touched and wiped each participant’s forearm. On average, participants had a favorable response to the first time the robot touched them. However, we found that the perceived intent of the robot significantly influenced people’s responses. If people believed that the robot intended to clean their arms, the participants tended to respond more favorably than if they believed the robot intended to comfort them, even though the robot’s manipulation behavior was the same. Our results suggest that roboticists should consider this social factor in addition to the mechanics of physical interaction. Surprisingly, we found that participants in our study responded less favorably when given a verbal warning prior to the robot’s actions. In addition to these main results, we present post-hoc analyses of participants’ galvanic skin responses (GSR), open-ended responses, attitudes towards robots, and responses to a second trial.
Preview · Article · Jan 2014 · International Journal of Social Robotics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Assistive mobile manipulators (AMMs) have the potential to one day serve as surrogates and helpers for people with disabilities, giving them the freedom to perform tasks such as scratching an itch, picking up a cup, or socializing with their families.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Home robots have the potential to assist older adults in maintaining their independence. However, robots deployed in older adults’ homes will be required to interact with untrained, novice users. The way untrained users, such as older adults, provide commands or control the robot (i.e., “method of robot control”) will likely impact the ease of use and adoption of the robot. The current study explored older adults’ preferences for controlling robots. Twelve independently-living older adults (ages 68-79) observed a functioning personal robot in a home setting, and were interviewed about their opinions regarding specific methods of robot control (i.e., laser pointer, physical manipulation, and devices). The older adults perceived advantages and disadvantages of these specific methods, including ‘specificity in command’, ‘accurate robot performance’, ‘limitations in their own physical capability’, and ‘challenges in using control device.’ The older adults also completed a questionnaire measuring their willingness to use 10 different types of methods of robot control. These data revealed that older adults were willing to use a variety of methods. Although older adults were limited in their spontaneous ideas about robot control (i.e., limited to voice command), once exposed to other options they were willing and open to a variety of control methods.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Robots for Humanity project aims to enable people with severe motor impairments to interact with their own bodies and their environment through the use of an assistive mobile manipulator, thereby improving their quality of life. Assistive mobile manipulators (AMMs) are mobile robots that physically manipulate the world in order to provide assistance to people with disabilities. They present an exciting frontier for assistive technology, as they can operate away from the user, have a large dexterous workspace (due to their mobility), and not directly encumber their users. The cornerstone of this project is an ongoing, interactive design process with a quadriplegic user, Henry Evans, and his wife and primary caregiver, Jane Evans. Henry has been enabled, through the use of a PR2 robot, to scratch his own face, shave, fetch a towel from his kitchen, and hand out Halloween candy to trick-ortreating children at a local mall.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hygiene and feeding are activities of daily living (ADLs) that often involve contact with a person's face. Robots can assist people with motor impairments to perform these tasks by holding a tool that makes contact with the care receiver's face. By sensing the forces applied to the face with the tool, robots could potentially provide assistance that is more comfortable, safe, and effective. In order to inform the design of robotic controllers and assistive robots, we investigated the forces able-bodied people apply to themselves when wiping and shaving their faces. We present our methods for capturing and modeling these forces, results from a study with 9 participants, and recommendations for assistive robots. Our contributions include a trapezoidal force model that assumes participants have a target force they attempt to achieve for each stroke of the tool. We discuss advantages of this 3 parameter model and show that it fits our data well relative to other candidate models. We also provide statistics of the models' rise rates, fall rates, and target forces for the 9 participants in our study. In addition, we illustrate how the target forces varied based on the task, participant, and location on the face.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many older adults wish to remain in their own homes as they age . However, challenges in performing home upkeep tasks threaten an older adult's ability to age in place. Even healthy independently living older adults experience challenges in maintaining their home . Challenges with home tasks can be compensated through technology, such as home robots. However, for home robots to be adopted by older adult users, they must be designed to meet older adults' needs for assistance and the older users must be amenable to robot assistance for those needs. We conducted a needs assessment to (1) assess older adults' openness to assistance from robots; and (2) understand older adults' opinions about using an assistive robot to help around the home. We administered questionnaires and conducted structured group interviews with 21 independently living older adults (ages 65-93). The questionnaire data suggest that older adults prefer robot assistance for cleaning and fetching/organizing tasks overall. However their assistance preferences discriminated between tasks. The interview data provided insight as to why they hold such preferences. Older adults reported benefits of robot assistance (e.g., the robot compensating for limitations, saving them time and effort, completing undesirable tasks, and performing tasks at a high level of performance). Participants also reported concerns such as the robot damaging the environment, being unreliable at or incapable of doing a task, doing tasks the older adult would rather do, or taking up too much space/storage. These data, along with specific comments from participant interviews, provide the basis for preliminary recommendations for designing mobile manipulator robots to support aging in place.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: People with physical disabilities have ranked object retrieval as a high-priority task for assistive robots. We have developed Dusty, a teleoperated mobile manipulator that fetches objects from the floor and delivers them to users at a comfortable height. In this paper, we first demonstrate the robot's high success rate (98.4%) when autonomously grasping 25 objects considered being important by people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We tested the robot with each object in five different configurations on five types of flooring. We then present the results of an experiment in which 20 people with ALS operated Dusty. Participants teleoperated Dusty to move around an obstacle, pick up an object and deliver the object to themselves. They successfully completed this task in 59 out of 60 trials (3 trials each) with a mean completion time of 61.4 SD = 20.5 seconds), and reported high overall satisfaction using Dusty (7-point Likert scale; 6.8 SD = 0.6). Participants rated Dusty to be significantly easier to use than their own hands, asking family members, and using mechanical reachers (p < 0.03, paired t-tests). Fourteen of the 20 participants reported that they would prefer using Dusty over their current methods. [Box: see text].
Preview · Article · Mar 2012 · Disability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As the older adult population grows and becomes more diverse, so will their needs and preferences for living environments. Many adults over 65 years of age require assistance in their living environment (Administration on Aging, 2009), however it is important for their feelings of well-being that the assistance does not restrict their autonomy (e.g., Barkay & Tabak, 2002). Moreover, autonomy enhancement may improve older adults' functionality (e.g., Greiner et al., 1996). This paper provides an overview of older adults' diverse living situations and an assessment of their needs for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) when living in the community or in a long-term care residence, such as assisted living or skilled nursing. We also examine older adults' residential mobility patterns to understand potential unmet needs for assistance. This needs assessment highlights the specific areas that could benefit from human factors interventions to support older adults in making choice-driven decisions about where they live.
Preview · Article · Sep 2011 · Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting Proceedings
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: People often use direct physical contact to guide a person to a desired location (e.g., leading a child by the hand) or to adjust a person's posture for a task (e.g., a dance instructor working with a dancer). When a user is in close proximity to a robot, physical contact becomes a potentially valuable channel for communication. We define a direct physical interface (DPI) as an interface that enables a user to influence a robot's behavior by making contact with its body. We evaluated a DPI in a controlled laboratory setting with 18 nurses and compared its performance with that of a comparable gamepad interface. The DPI significantly outperformed the gamepad according to several objective and subjective measures. Nurses also tended to exert more force at the robot's end-effectors and command higher velocities when using the DPI to perform a navigation task compared with using the DPI to perform a positioning task. Based on user surveys, we identify various nursing tasks where robotic assistance may be useful and provide design recommendations specifically in the area of healthcare.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: By initiating physical contact with people, robots can be more useful. For example, a robotic caregiver might make contact to provide physical assistance or facilitate communication. So as to better understand how people respond to robot-initiated touch, we conducted a 2x2 between-subjects experiment with 56 people in which a robotic nurse autonomously touched and wiped the subject's forearm. Our independent variables were whether or not the robot verbally warned the person before contact, and whether the robot verbally indicated that the touch was intended to clean the person's skin (instrumental touch) or to provide comfort (affective touch). On average, regardless of the treatment, participants had a generally positive subjective response. However, with instrumental touch people responded significantly more favorably. Since the physical behavior of the robot was the same for all trials, our results demonstrate that the perceived intent of the robot can significantly influence a person's subjective response to robot-initiated touch. Our results suggest that roboticists should consider this factor in addition to the mechanics of physical interaction. Unexpectedly, we found that participants tended to respond more favorably without a verbal warning. Although inconclusive, our results suggest that verbal warnings prior to contact should be carefully designed, if used at all.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Robots have the potential to support older adults as they age in place (Smarr, Fausset, & Rogers, 2011), as well as if they live in assisted living or skilled nursing residences (Mitzner, Chen, Kemp, & Rogers, 2011). Robots can conceivably support older adults for various activities, including self-maintenance, instrumental, and enhanced activities of daily living (Lawton, 1990; Rogers, Meyer, Walker, & Fisk, 1998), and in various capacities. For example, robots could provide support while an older adult performs a task (e.g., by providing stability as an older adult gets dressed). Robots could also execute tasks for older adults who are no longer able to perform a particular task (e.g., opening a jar) or for tasks that may be unsafe to perform (e.g., retrieving an item from a high shelf). However, to understand if older adults will be willing to adopt robots as assistive technologies, additional research is needed to better understand older adults’ acceptance of robots. Moreover, research is needed to understand whether robot acceptance varies as a function of variables such as task context and robot familiarity and experience.
In this study, we explored older adults’ acceptance of robots in general, as well as their acceptance of Willow Garage’s Personal Robot 2 (PR2) (www.willowgarage.com), which is a mobile manipulator. Participants included 21 independent living seniors. We administered three questionnaires that we developed to assess different aspects of acceptance. We designed the Robot Familiarity and Usage Questionnaire to assess participants’ familiarity with and usage of 15 different types of robots. We developed the Robot Opinions Questionnaire based upon existing technology acceptance scales (Davis, 1989), as a general measure of robot acceptance. We designed the Assistance Preference Checklist to assess participants’ preferences for human or robot assistance for 48 home-based tasks. We also administered a Background & Health Questionnaire, which collected participant demographic information (e.g., gender, education, race/ethnicity, housing type) and health status, as well as a Technology and Computer Experience Questionnaire, which contained questions about technology and computer use. This report presents descriptive statistics from the data we collected in this study. Inferential statistical comparisons are in progress and will be provided in a future report.
The present results provide valuable insights into older adults’ attitudes and preferences regarding robot support in the home. Moreover, these findings provide guidance for robot design.