Assistive robots for socialization in elderly people: results pertaining to the needs of the users

Grazia D’Onofrio, Laura Fiorini, Hiroshi Hoshino, Aiko Matsumori, Yasuo Okabe, Masahiko Tsukamoto, Raffaele Limosani, Alessandra Vitanza, Francesca Greco, Antonio Greco, Francesco Giuliani, Filippo Cavallo, Daniele Sancarlo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/aim: Technological solutions can support the elderly, improve their quality of life and reduce isolation and loneliness. The Euro-Japan ACCRA (Agile Co-Creation for Robots and Aging) project has the objective of building a reference co-creation methodology for the development of robotic solutions for ageing. The aim of this study is to provide a pilot qualitative analysis of the real needs of elderly people and their caregivers when exposed to conversational activities with robots and to identify priority needs that should be developed from end-user perspectives. Methods: A qualitative research design was adopted to define a pre-structured questionnaire that was administered to the elderly taking part in the piloting sessions. Three groups of end-users were included: subjects with an age ≥ 60 years, informal caregivers and formal caregivers. Results: The interviews were carried out in Italy and Japan. A total of 17 elderly and 36 caregivers were recruited. Common needs in the two sites were categorized into 3 groups: Communication; Emotion Detection and Safety. General robot acceptance level is good and perception is positive among participants in the pilot sites. Conclusion: A positive perception of the elderly on the application of a robotic solution was found and many are the needs that could be addressed by an appropriate and careful robotic development taking into account the real needs and capabilities of the involved subjects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Elderly
  • Needs
  • Qualitative research
  • Social robot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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