Robotics for Support of 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 including robots which were once reserved solely for people with disabilities. These innovative advances in robotic technologies for use with healthy and active older people therefore also benefit people with disabilities and, of course, younger mainstream users who can more readily exploit the efficiencies provided by the wide spread introduction of robots as part of our every day lives and as 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 worldwide financial crisis and resultant austerity we currently live in. The trajectory of these trends paint a dark picture of negative consequence on the quality of life and social health for those of us who survive to old age, as well as for our carers, and for the sustainability of our current health and social care systems. This is why research and development in areas such as robotics to support active and healthy ageing is today more important than ever.
This session calls for presentation and discussion of research and development addressing service robotics in assisted living environments which can help older populations to remain active and independent for longer. Moreover, it aims to explore connections between robotics for older populations and for people with disabilities. Accepted papers should build on advances in this domain, and should combine multi-disciplinary research involving behavioural, sociological, health and other relevant disciplines, in order to meet a range of needs and societal expectations, applicability to realistic settings, safety and acceptability to end-users. Therefore, topics addressed in the session include but are not limited to the following:
- Service robotics for older people and/or people with disabilities
- Human-Robot interaction for older people and/or people with disabilities
- User studies on robotics for older people and/or people with disabilities
- Design of robotics for older people and/or people with disabilities
- Ageing and technology acceptance
- Robotics in health care systems
- Robotics in support of assisted and independent living
- Companion robotics for older people and/or people with disabilities
- Social robotics for older people and/or people with disabilities
The session intends to set up a platform for discussion on issues like the challenging problems of loneliness, isolation and dementia in older persons through multi‐faceted interventions delivered by service robots and the opportunity to situate the specific concerns identified above in a wider reflection on 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 elderly and people with disabilities by robots raises concerns about the role of technology in human life. In addition, it raises discussion on more justice orientated questions regarding the social status of the elderly and people with disabilities in society and society’s allocation of resources to their needs. It also raises the issue of the particular impact of such practices on men and women, both as carers and recipients of care.
Acknowledgement: 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.
Christos Kouroupetroglou, Caretta-Net Technologies
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