Trailblazer Project:

I need help but ...

I need help but my robot can't get down the stairs

Project Summary

This project will explore factors affecting cohabitation of robots and people with lived experience of frailty within homes from a built environment perspective and develop a framework for residential built environments for frailty and robot cohabitation.

Meet the Project Team

Dr Evangelia Chyrsikou

(Principle Investigator)

The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction UCL

Dr Fernando Loizides

School of Computer Science, Cardiff University

Dr Jane Biddulph

Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health

Amy Dennis-Jones

Hobbs Rehabilitation Intensive Neurotherapy Centre

Nathan Jones

School of Computer Science, Cardiff University

Project Plan

Narrative Summary

This project will identify the key barriers relating to the built environment and architecture that impact on effective integration and deployment of robotics technologies in the real-world. 

Our homes are not designed for people with frailty or robots. Yet, there is significant research into robot interventions demonstrating great potential for older adults with frailty. The existing technologies could support frail people with activities, such as, exercise and companionship to increase quality of life. Adoption of robots in homes, however, is limited to devices such as automated vacuum cleaners, voice assistants and children’s toys. 

Robotics aimed at assisting older people with frailty have been thus far tested in laboratory settings and the study of real built environments settings for the co-habitation of robots and older people in those settings is often neglected. Putting robots inside real homes can create difficulties that have been, so far, unexplored and this prevents these technologies from reaching their potential, and most importantly prevents people with frailty benefiting from them. 

Within this project we draw on expertise from the field of human-robot interaction, the built environment, population health and clinical practice, to understand and find solutions to facilitate optimisation of human and robot cohabitation for those with frailty. We aim to produce a list of factors that affect cohabitation which will be instrumental components for the creation of guidelines relating to residential built environments for frailty and robot cohabitation, so that both can work effectively and seamlessly together. To that end, we are going to review different robots-for-frailty, in terms of, ability to cohabitate within people’s homes from a built environment perspective.

The research will produce a framework that can lead to better robot-environment integration and design for deployment of robotics technologies in real home settings.