Designing robots for the elderly: appearance issue and beyond

Arch Gerontol Geriatr. Jan-Feb 2012;54(1):121-6. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2011.02.003. Epub 2011 Feb 23.


This paper provides the results of three focus groups organized in the framework of the ROBADOM project, aiming at designing a service type assistive robot for the elderly with mild cognitive impairment living at home. The main objective of these focus groups was to give some recommendations to engineers in charge of the design of the robot's appearance. Results showed that although many humanoid robots were criticized by most participants, some small creative humanoid robots were appreciated. However, beyond the issue of the robot appearance, many ethical and social issues were raised. These focus groups offered an opportunity for participants to discuss the very idea of an assistive robot and to challenge some implicit preconceptions of the roboticists. Finally, we discuss how assistive robots could be designed considering the social context of the elderly and how to implicate the elderly as future end-users in the design process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude
  • Equipment Design
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Robotics*
  • User-Computer Interface