Skip to main content

What Do Older People Actually Want from Their Robots?

  • 1231 Accesses

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNISA,volume 12376)


There has been a lot of research concerning robots to support older people. However, there may be some areas of robots for older people that have not been as heavily researched or that is being missed. This study aimed to reassess if existing research is addressing the needs of 22 older people and asked them “without being concerned about any limitations, what would you want from a robot?” The study also showed them pictures of different robot types and asked them which type, if any, they would prefer. It was found that the older people have a lot of daily tasks and needs that are not addressed by current research. It was also found that older people were generally intimated by humanoid robots and are concerned about their privacy with voice agents but do not have a specific preference otherwise.


  • Robots for older people
  • User needs
  • Robot preference

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Buying options

USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-58796-3_3
  • Chapter length: 8 pages
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
USD   84.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-58796-3
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Softcover Book
USD   109.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Fig. 1.


  1. Robinson, H., MacDonald, B., Broadbent, E.: The role of healthcare robots for older people at home: a review. Int. J. Soc. Robot. 6(4), 575–591 (2014).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  2. Broadbent, E., et al.: Robots in older people’s homes to improve medication adherence and quality of life: a randomised cross-over trial. In: Beetz, M., Johnston, B., Williams, M.-A. (eds.) ICSR 2014. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 8755, pp. 64–73. Springer, Cham (2014).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  3. Fasola, J., Matarić, M.J.: Socially assistive robot exercise coach: motivating older adults to engage in physical exercise. In: Desai, J., Dudek, G., Khatib, O., Kumar, V. (eds.) Experimental Robotics. STAR, vol. 88, pp. 463–479. Springer, Heidelberg (2013).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  4. Bickmore, T.W., Caruso, L., Clough-Gorr, K., Heeren, T.: ‘It’s just like you talk to a friend’ relational agents for older adults. Interact. Comput. 17(6), 711–735 (2005)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  5. Wang, D., Tan, A.H.: EHealthPortal: a social support hub for the active living of the elderly. In: ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, vol. Part F1306, pp. 19–25 (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Hening, S., Cottrell, P., Teoderescu, M., Kurniawan, S., Mantey, P.: Assistive living robot: a remotely controlled robot for older persons living alone. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Pervasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments, pp. 10:1–10:4 (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  7. Tapus, A., Vieru, A.-M.: Robot cognitive stimulation for the elderly. In: Ferrández Vicente, J.M., Álvarez Sánchez, J.R., de la Paz López, F., Toledo Moreo, F.J. (eds.) IWINAC 2013. LNCS, vol. 7930, pp. 94–102. Springer, Heidelberg (2013).

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  8. Li, J., Louie, W.Y.G., Mohamed, S., Despond, F., Nejat, G.: A user-study with Tangy the Bingo facilitating robot and long-term care residents. In: 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors (IRIS), IRIS 2016, pp. 109–115 (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  9. Khosla, R., Chu, M.T.: Embodying care in matilda: an affective communication robot for emotional wellbeing of older people in Australian residential care facilities. ACM Trans. Manag. Inf. Syst. 4(4), 1–33 (2013)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  10. Wada, K., Shibata, T.: Living with seal robots; its sociopsychological and physiological influences on the elderly at a care house. Trans. Rob. 23(5), 972–980 (2007)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  11. Petrie, H., Darzentas, J.: Older people and robotic technologies in the home: perspectives from recent research literature. In: ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, vol. Part F1285, pp. 29–36 (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  12. Heerink, M., Kröse, B., Evers, V., Wielinga, B.: The influence of social presence on enjoyment and intention to use of a robot and screen agent by elderly users. Test, pp. 695–700 (2008)

    Google Scholar 

  13. QSRInternational, “NVIVO.” Accessed 29 Sept 2019

  14. Braun, V., Clarke, V.: Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual. Res. Psychol. 3(2), 77–101 (2006)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references


We would like to thank all our participants for taking the time to participate in our study. Their feedback has been extremely valuable in our ongoing work with robots for older people.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sanjit Samaddar .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this paper

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Samaddar, S., Petrie, H. (2020). What Do Older People Actually Want from Their Robots?. In: Miesenberger, K., Manduchi, R., Covarrubias Rodriguez, M., Peňáz, P. (eds) Computers Helping People with Special Needs. ICCHP 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12376. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-58795-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-58796-3

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)