Dignity, Autonomy, and Style of Company: Dimensions Older Adults Consider for Robot Companions

Simon Coghlan, Jenny Waycott, Amanda Lazar, Barbara Neves

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


Research into companion robots for older adults, including those who are socially isolated and lonely, continues to grow. Although some insight into older adults' preferences for various robotic types and functionality is emerging, we lack research examining how these robots fulfil or challenge a range of values and aspirations individuals have in later life. This study examines the attitudes and perspectives of 16 older adults (aged 65+) living independently but alone in their own homes, who were interviewed and shown videos depicting three distinctive companion robots: a talking assistant; a roving toylike vehicle; and a robotic dog. This approach illuminated values, preferences, and needs amongst older people that are vital for understanding the potential of companion robots. In comparing the robots, participants expressed concerns about the impact of different companion robots on their abilities and skills, their sense of autonomy and control over their lives, and the maintenance of several kinds of dignity. These results inform user-centered design and use of companion robots for older people living alone and independently.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Cite this