The Role of Robotics in Promoting Active and Healthy Ageing

Robotics are nowadays considered to be one of the major technologies that will transform health care in the coming years. In particular companion and service robotics are being developed, tested and implemented to promote social health and support active and healthy ageing. Not surprising therefore, older people are considered key drivers in this technological revolution as they force technologists to research and develop tailored made assistive technologies aimed to enhance quality of life. The resultatnt innovative advances in robotic technologies have the potential to impact the lives not only of older people, but society at large as the introduction of robots becomes part of everyday life and extensions of our cyber-physical environments.

Currently we are facing two analogous worrying trends: i) the increased number of older people who are at greater risk of cognitive impairment, frailty, social exclusion and ii) the implications of the financial crisis and resultant austerity that currently experience. The trajectory of these trends paint a dark picture of negative consequence on the quality of life and social health for those of who survive to old age, as well as for carers, and for the sustainability of current health and social care systems. This is why research and development in robotics to support active and healthy ageing is today more important than ever.

This session calls for presentations and discussions on research and developments addressing service robotics in assisted living environments which can help older populations to remain active and independent for longer. It will provide a platform for discussing the potential societal impact of widespread adoption of robots in assisted care contexts. The possibility of replacing a significant amount of human care for the older people by robots raises ethical/safety concerns, issues surrounding acceptability as well as concerns about the role of technology in human life. In addition, it focuses on more justice orientated questions regarding the social status of older people in society and society’s allocation of resources to their needs. It also raises the issue of the impact of robots and robotic technology on men and women, both as carers and recipients of care. Accepted papers should build on advances in this domain, and should combine multi-disciplinary research involving behavioural, sociological, health and other relevant disciplines. The topic areas to be addressed in this session include but are not limited to the following areas:

  • The role of robotic technology in supporting active and healthy aging 
  • Robotic design for use with older people 
  • Ethical and safety concerns regarding the design and implementation of robotics in care of older people and or health care in general 
  • Acceptability of robots in health care contexts
  • User led design in the development of robotic technology
  • The impact of robots/robot technology on the quality of life of older people

Contributions to the STS have to be submitted using the standard submission procedures of ICCHP.

Acknowledgements: This session is organized in the frame of the MARIO project “Managing active and healthy aging with use of caring service robots” (643808), funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Commission as part of the ‘Health, demographic change and wellbeing’ Programme and its topic PHC-19-2014: Advancing active and healthy ageing with ICT: service robotics within assisted living environments.


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Submission Deadline for Contributions to STSs: February 1, 2018