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Acceptability of a Teleoperated Android by Senior Citizens in Danish Society

A Case Study on the Application of an Embodied Communication Medium to Home Care

Abstract

We explore the potential of teleoperated androids, which are embodied telecommunication media with humanlike appearances. By conducting a pilot study, we investigated how Telenoid, a teleoperated android designed as a minimalistic human, affects people in the real world when it is employed to express telepresence and a sense of ‘being there’. Our exploratory study focused on the social aspects of the android robot, which might facilitate communication between the elderly and Telenoid’s operator. This new way of creating social relationships can be used to solve a problem in society, the social isolation of senior citizens. It has become a major issue even in Denmark that is known as one of countries with advanced welfare systems. In this pilot study at Danish homes, we found that the elderly with or without dementia showed positive attitudes toward Telenoid and developed various dialogue strategies. Contrary to the issue of revulsion that can be caused by humanlike robots and the negative reactions by non-users in media reports, we discuss potentials and challenges of the android’s embodiment for social inclusion of senior citizens in telecommunications.

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Acknowledgments

This research was partially supported by JST CREST, and MEXT KAKENHI 24300200. The authors thank all the participants and our colleagues for their cooperation in this work, especially Martin Fischer at Svendborg Municipality, Martin Exner at Danish University of Education, Jari Due Jessen at Technical University of Denmark, Helle Skovbjerg Karoff at Technical University of Denmark, and Ilona Straub at University Duisburg-Essen.

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Correspondence to Ryuji Yamazaki.

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Yamazaki, R., Nishio, S., Ishiguro, H. et al. Acceptability of a Teleoperated Android by Senior Citizens in Danish Society. Int J of Soc Robotics 6, 429–442 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-014-0247-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-014-0247-x

Keywords

  • Teleoperated android
  • Minimal design
  • Embodied communication
  • Social isolation
  • Elderly care
  • Social acceptance