Older users' acceptance of an assistive robot: Attitudinal changes following brief exposure

Jenay M. Beer, Akanksha Prakash, Cory Ann Smarr, Tiffany L. Chen, Kelsey Hawkins, Hai Nguyen, Travis Deyle, Tracy L. Mitzner, Charles C. Kemp, Wendy A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Many older adults wish to age-in-place. Robot assistance at home may be beneficial for older adults who are experiencing limitations in performing home activities. In this study we investigate older Americans' robot acceptance before and after exposure to a domestic mobile manipulator, with an emphasis on understanding trialability (i.e., 'trying out' a robot for a short time period) and result demonstrability (i.e., observing the results of the robot's functionality). Method Older adult participants observed a mobile manipulator robot autonomously demonstrating three tasks: delivering medication, learning to turn off a light switch, and organizing home objects. We administered pre and post exposure questionnaires about participants' opinions and attitudes toward the robot, as well as a semi-structured interview about each demonstration. Results We found that demonstration of a mobile manipulator assistive robot did, in fact, influence older adults' acceptance. There was a significant increase, pre vs. post, in positive perceptions of robot usefulness and ease of use for 8 of the 12 Robot Opinions Questionnaire items. Furthermore, in the Assistance Preference Checklist, eighteen tasks significantly differed between pre and post exposure, with older adults showing a greater openness to robot assistance after exposure to the robot. Conclusion Demonstration of robot capability positively affected older adults' preferences for robot assistance for tasks in the home. Interview data suggest that the robot's capability and reliability influenced older adults' first impressions of the robot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-36
Number of pages16
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging-in-place
  • Assistive robotics
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Mobile manipulator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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