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Author: Jun-Ming Lu, Yeh-Liang Hsu (2012-10-29); recommendation: Yeh-Liang Hsu (2014-09-09).
Note: This paper was presented in the 20th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics: Digital Ageing: A New Horizon for Health Care and Active Ageing, Seoul, Korea, 2013

Use of telepresence robots to facilitate ageing in place

Introduction

Thanks to the rapid progress of robotics, now we have a wide variety of robots to help the elderly people to “age in place.” Autonomous robots are often employed to assist or entertain the elderly people, but the elderly people may prefer staying with those who they are familiar with. Telepresence robots further help to take mental health care through interpersonal interaction, by means of serving as the agent or avatar of their family members who live far away. From this point of view, telepresence robots tend to have greater potential in the field of elderly care and assistance.

Method

The purpose of this paper is to summarize such applications of telepresence robots, as well as the key factors contributing to the successful “ageing in place” with these robots. In the use of telepresence robots, the principle is to rebuild the experience of face-to-face interaction between the remote controller and the senior user who stays with the robot. This paper discusses the user acceptance at both ends in terms of robot factors and human factors.

Results

From the robot’s perspective, its anthropomorphism, physical characteristics, and personality are critical. From the senior user’s perspective, the user’s backgrounds, experiences, and attitude toward robots need to be emphasized.

Conclusion

The findings can offer some practical guidelines for researchers, professionals and practitioners in this field. Finally, the current development of telepresence robots in Gerontechnology Research Center Yuan Ze University is presented as an example to illustrate how the guidelines can be implemented to facilitate ageing in place.

Keywords: telepresence robot, aging in place, interpersonal interaction