A social robot to deliver an 8-week intervention for diabetes management: initial test of feasibility in a hospital clinic

Nicole L. Robinson, Jennifer Connolly, Leanne Hides, David J. Kavanagh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Social robots show significant potential as a healthcare coach for chronic life-long conditions and within medical settings. This 8-week feasibility trial explored a robot-delivered talk-based program for adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes to coach diabetes management with a focus on healthy eating habits. Trial objectives were to assess initial recruitment uptake, treatment effects, and evaluations of the program before a larger deployment. A NAO robot delivered two 60-minute coaching sessions and two 15-minute videos over an 8-week period. Initial findings revealed the robot program had a 44% uptake rate (n = 4). The robot program helped two participants achieve a 70% reduction in their high-sugar food and drink consumption, including increased motivation and self-efficacy scores. Program evaluation found the robot-delivered content did elicit discussion around personal incentives, goals, strategies, goal planning and consideration to improve diabetes management. Robot evaluation scores increased over time for improved likability, helpfulness, trust, and capacity to help change behavior. Qualitative evaluation found sessions were rated as interactive, supportive, and helpful for their self-management. Results found preliminary support for a robot-delivered program to be offered in conjunction with a hospital outpatient clinic, but more recruitment to increase sample size is needed. The next stage involves technical refinement, better integration into an existing service, and trial extension or replication in a larger sample to further substantiate these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Robotics
Subtitle of host publication12th International Conference, ICSR 2020 Golden, CO, USA, November 14–18, 2020 Proceedings
EditorsAlan R. Wagner, David Feil-Seifer, Kerstin S. Haring, Silvia Rossi, Thomas Williams, Hongsheng He, Shuzhi Sam Ge
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783030620561
ISBN (Print)9783030620554
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventInternational Conference on Social Robotics 2020 - Golden, United States of America
Duration: 14 Nov 202018 Nov 2020
Conference number: 12th
https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-62056-1 (Proceedings)
https://sites.psu.edu/icsr2020/ (Website)

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceInternational Conference on Social Robotics 2020
Abbreviated titleICSR 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Clinical trial
  • Dietary intake
  • Human-robot interaction
  • Outpatient
  • Treatment
  • Type 1 diabetes

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