Immersive participatory design of assistive robots to support older adults

Samuel A. Olatunji, Vy Nguyen, Maya Cakmak, Aaron Edsinger, Charles C. Kemp, Wendy A. Rogers, Harshal P. Mahajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Assistive robots have the potential to support independence, enhance safety, and lower healthcare costs for older adults, as well as alleviate the demands of their care partners. However, ensuring that these robots will effectively and reliably address end-user needs in the long term requires user-specific design factors to be considered during the robot development process. To identify these design factors, we embedded Stretch, a mobile manipulator created by Hello Robot Inc., in the home of an older adult with motor impairments and his care partner for four weeks to support them with everyday activities. An occupational therapist and a robotics engineer lived with them during this period, employing an immersive participatory design approach to co-design and customise the robot with them. We highlight the benefits of this immersive participatory design experience and provide insights into robot design that can be applied broadly to other assistive technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Human robot interaction
  • ageing in place
  • assistive technologies
  • ethnographic research
  • user centred design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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