A template based user-teaching system for an Assistive Robot
Demographics issues, characterised by an increasing elderly population, are expected to be a major concern both in Europe and other countries around the world. A proposed cost and care solution to these issues has been suggested that uses assistive robots in 'smarthome' environments. The deployment of such integrated facilities presents many challenges, one of which concerns the customisation of such systems to meet the needs of the elderly person themselves. One approach is to allow the elderly person to actually teach the robot sufficient behaviours that meet their care requirements. The teaching could equally well be carried out by the elderly person's relatives or carers. The overriding premise being that teaching is both intuitive and 'non-technical'. As part of a European project investigating these issues we have deployed a commercially available robot in a fully sensorised but otherwise ordinary suburban house, and designed a non-technical teaching system, based on behavioural templates, to achieve this goal. We have evaluated this integrated system within the house with 20 participants in a Human-Robot interaction experiment. Results indicate that participants overall found the interface easy to use, and felt that they would be capable of using it in a real-life situation. There were also some salient individual differences within the sample.