Elderly Users in Ambient Intelligence: Does an Avatar Improve the Interaction?

  • Amalia Ortiz
  • María del Puy Carretero
  • David Oyarzun
  • Jose Javier Yanguas
  • Cristina Buiza
  • M. Feli Gonzalez
  • Igone Etxeberria
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4397)


In order to examine the effect of an avatar in natural interaction with elderly users in ambient intelligent environments, we performed an empirical study with elderly people (normal aging, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s patients) not only on subjective but also on objective measures. The data supports the following: 1) The subjects followed some instructions much better when interacting with the avatar. 2) The presence of the avatar has neither any positive nor negative effect on the recall of elderly people and it has a positive effect only on the subjective measures. 3) We found that elderly people both with and without cognitive impairment are capable of recognizing emotions in the facial expressions of the avatar and 4) they found the experience of having an emotional avatar in the interface a pleasant one. Thus, we conclude that virtual characters could improve the interaction between elderly people and machines, but this would depend greatly on the request task.


Facial Expression Mild Cognitive Impairment Elderly People Emotion Recognition Elderly User 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amalia Ortiz
    • 1
  • María del Puy Carretero
    • 1
  • David Oyarzun
    • 1
  • Jose Javier Yanguas
    • 2
  • Cristina Buiza
    • 2
  • M. Feli Gonzalez
    • 2
  • Igone Etxeberria
    • 2
  1. 1.VICOMTech Research Centre. Graphical Conversational Interfaces Dept., Paseo Mikeletegi 57, 20009 San SebastianSpain
  2. 2.Ingema. Matia Gerontological Institute Foundation, Usandizaga 6 2002 San SebastianSpain

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