Using socially assistive robots for monitoring and preventing frailty among older adults: a study on usability and user experience challenges

Richelle A.C.M. Olde Keizer, Lex van Velsen*, Mathieu Moncharmont, Brigitte Riche, Nadir Ammour, Susanna Del Signore, Gianluca Zia, Hermie Hermens, Aurèle N’Dja

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Socially assistive robots can play an important role in the monitoring and training of health of older adults. But before their benefits can be reaped, proper usability and a positive user experience need to be ensured. In this study, we tested the usability and user experience of a socially assistive robot (the NAO humanoid robot) to monitor and train the health of frail older adults. They were asked to complete a set of health monitoring and physical training tasks, once provided by the NAO robot, and once provided by a Tablet PC application (as a reference technology). After using each technology, they completed the System Usability Scale for usability, and a set of rating scales for perceived usefulness, enjoyment, and control. Finally, we questioned the participants’ preference for one of the technologies. All interactions were recorded on video and scrutinized for usability issues. Twenty older adults participated. They awarded both technologies ‘average’ usability scores. Perceived usefulness and enjoyment were rated as very positive for both modalities; control was scored positively. Main usability issues for NAO for these tasks were related to speech interaction (e.g., NAO’s limited speech library, NAO’s difficulty to cope with Dutch dialect), older adults’ difficulties with taking their proper role in human-robot interaction, and a lack of affordances of NAO. Seven participants preferred NAO: it was easier to use and more personal. Social robots have the potential to monitor and train the health of frail older adults, but some critical usability challenges need to be overcome first.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-605
Number of pages11
JournalHealth and technology
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Older adults
  • Socially assistive robots
  • Usability
  • User experience
  • Healthcare

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