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Participatory Design in Socially Assistive Robots for Older Adults: bridging the gap between elicitation methods and the generation of design requirements

by   Adi Bulgaro, et al.

Research on older adults' interaction with socially assistive robots (SARs) is evolving. Participatory design (PD) strategies can support designers in developing SARs that meet older adults' needs, capabilities, and preferences. Still, there is a gap between PD elicitation methods and the generation of design requirements. We aim to bridge this gap using new PD tools. Utilizing PD methods, we first learned the elderly's daily routines, habits, and wishes by interviewing older adults and stakeholders. Then we began reconstructing the needs to form design requirements and evaluate them with older adults. Two focus groups were conducted to understand the visual design features of SARs in two ways: Choosing from an existing repository of "off the shelf" robots and Ideation and design of a SAR using a toolkit that we developed. For the interviews, we used thematic analysis to discover meanings repeated in the text. The interviews revealed differences in the robot's perception between men and women and different requirements for older adults, caregivers, and relatives. Outcomes of the focus groups emphasized the need for the SAR to express human characteristics and be reliable. By utilizing the toolkit, older adults further expressed their wishes for the visual design.


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