Robots and Virtual Assistants for Disabled and Older People
There has long been discussion and research about the possibility of using robots to provide support for disabled and particularly older people. Now that the cost of small robots has become much more affordable and robots are becoming varied and (sometimes) attractive in their appearance, this is becoming a practical proposition. In addition, virtual assistants, whether voice only (e.g. Alexa, Siri, etc), with a visual avatar or integrated with a robot, are also becoming very affordable options. Robots and virtual assistants can provide many kinds of support for disabled and older people – carrying out tasks, guiding through exercise and rehabilitation, providing advice, entertainment, reminders and companionship.
There are still many open questions about the design and deployment of these support systems. What do disabled and older people really want and need from these systems? What are the most appropriate designs? How do we avoid disabled and older people becoming isolated from human support because it seems they have appropriate support from their technology? What are the cultural and generational differences in attitudes to robots and virtual assistants?
This session calls for papers on any of these issues and many others around the topic of robots and virtual assistants as support for disabled and older people. These might include, but are not restricted to:
- voice interaction with robots
- emotionality in robots and virtual assistants
- multimodal interfaces to robots and virtual assistants
- integration of visual assistants and robots
- cultural differences in attitudes to robots and virtual assistants
- wishes and needs for support from robots and virtual assistants
- characteristics of avatars for virtual assistants
- monitoring versus autonomy for disabled and older people in relation to robots and virtual assistants
- most appropriate functionality for robots and virtual assistants
- Security and privacy concerns for disabled and older people in relation to robots and virtual assistants
- Smart home/IoT management through virtual assistants for disabled and older people
- Participatory design of robots or virtual assistants for disabled and older people
- Multi-functional vs uni-functional robots for disabled and older people
- Virtual assistants and robots to help monitor older or disabled family members
- Ethical issues in the use of robots and virtual assistants for older and disabled people
- Barriers to adoption of robots and virtual assistants
This STS is organized by Working Group 13.3 (Human Computer Interaction, Disability and Aging) of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).
Helen Petrie, Professor Emerita, Human Computer Interaction Research Group, Department of Computer Science, University of York
Gerhard Weber, Professor of Human Computer Interaction, Technical University Dresden
Sanjit Samaddar, Department of Theatre, Film, Television, and Interactive Media, University of York
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