What has happened today? Memory visualisation of a robot companion to assist user’s memory
Syrdal, Dag Sverre
Purpose – Memory deterioration is one of the most common cognitive issues associated with ageing. Not being able to remember daily routines (e.g. taking medicine) poses a serious threat to personal independence. Smart homes combined with assistive robots have been suggested as an acceptable solution to support the independent living of the older people. The purpose of this paper is to develop a memory visualisation tool in robots and smart houses following the hypothesis that the use of memory aids will have a positive effect on the cognitive capabilities of older people. Design/methodology/approach – This paper describes the iterative development process and evaluation of a novel interface to visualise the episodic memory of a socially assistive robotic system which could help to improve the memory capabilities of older users. Two experimental studies were carried out to assess usability, usefulness and envisaged use of such a system. Findings – Results show that users find a memory tool for the robot useful to help them remember daily routines and when trying to recall previous events. Usability results emphasise the need to tailor the memory tool to specific age ranges. Originality/value – The research to date provides support that for assistive robots to be a truly useful tool, they must be able to deliver episodic memory visualisation tools that enhance day-to-day living (i.e. environmental information, data on the robot’s actions and human-robot interaction episodes). Equipping a robotic companion with a novel memory visualisation tool for episodic memory is an excellent opportunity to have a robot provide such a functionality (cognitive prosthetics).