What Older People Expect of Robots: A Mixed Methods Approach

  • Susanne Frennert
  • Håkan Eftring
  • Britt Östlund
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8239)


This paper focuses on how older people in Sweden imagine the potential role of robots in their lives. The data collection involved mixed methods, including focus groups, a workshop, a questionnaire and interviews. The findings obtained and lessons learnt from one method fed into another. In total, 88 older people were involved. The results indicate that the expectations and preconceptions about robots are multi-dimensional and ambivalent. Ambivalence can been seen in the tension between the benefits of having a robot looking after the older people, helping with or carrying out tasks they no longer are able to do, and the parallel attitudes, resilience and relational inequalities that accompany these benefits. The participants perceived that having a robot might be “good for others but not themselves”, “good as a machine not a friend” while their relatives and informal caregivers perceived a robot as “not for my relative but for other older people”.


Mixed methods Older people Expectations Preconceptions Robots 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne Frennert
    • 1
  • Håkan Eftring
    • 1
  • Britt Östlund
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Design SciencesLund UniversitySweden

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