University of Hertfordshire

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Assistive technology design and development for acceptable robotics companions for ageing years

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  • R. Op Den Akker
  • S. Bedaf
  • R. Bormann
  • H. Draper
  • V. Evers
  • J. Gallego Perez
  • Gert Jan Gelderblom
  • C.G. Ruiz
  • D. Hewson
  • N. Hu
  • Hagen Lehmann
  • P. Marti
  • H. Michel
  • H. Prevot-Huille
  • U. Reiser
  • Joe Saunders
  • T. Sorell
  • Jelle Stienstra
  • D.S. Syrdal
  • Michael Walters
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-112
Number of pages19
JournalPALADYN: Journal of Behavioural Robotics
Early online date20 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


A new stream of research and development responds to changes in life expectancy across the world. It includes technologies which enhance well-being of individuals, specifically for older people. The ACCOMPANY project focuses on home companion technologies and issues surrounding technology development for assistive purposes. The project responds to some overlooked aspects of technology design, divided into multiple areas such as empathic and social human-robot interaction, robot learning and memory visualisation, and monitoring persons’ activities at home. To bring these aspects together, a dedicated task is identified to ensure technological integration of these multiple approaches on an existing robotic platform, Care-O-Bot®3 in the context of a smart-home environment utilising a multitude of sensor arrays. Formative and summative evaluation cycles are then used to assess the emerging prototype towards identifying acceptable behaviours and roles for the robot, for example role as a butler or a trainer, while also comparing user requirements to achieved progress. In a novel approach, the project considers ethical concerns and by highlighting principles such as autonomy, independence, enablement, safety and privacy, it embarks on providing a discussion medium where user views on these principles and the existing tension between some of these principles, for example tension between privacy and autonomy over safety, can be captured and considered in design cycles and throughout project developments


© 2013 Farshid Amirabdollahian et al., licensee Versita Sp. z o. o. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license, which means that the text may be used for non-commercial purposes, provided credit is given to the author.

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