Helping elderly users control a telepresence robot with a touch screen

Foustanas, Nestoras (2015) Helping elderly users control a telepresence robot with a touch screen.

Abstract:Few studies so far have experimented with the control of mobile robotic telepresence systems (MRP) especially with elderly people as controllers. In the few studies that had elderly people control a MRP it was shown that these people have particular difficulties with the driving such as with steering the robot or when driving while simultaneously talking to the person on the other end. How can the system be made easier for them? Could a touch screen device improve control of these systems for the elderly? This thesis investigated this by means of an experimental approach in which we used the Giraff telepresence robot to compare two different input devices (mouse and touch screen) for control by elderly and young adults for comparison of results. We did not find statistical significance for most of the tests that compared the two interfaces and the two age groups but this could be because of the low number of participants (N = 22). However, there seems to be a positive effect of touch screen in the number of collisions and the driving times (between checkpoints) that elderly subjects had with the robot. Moreover, the number of collisions of the robot with the environment when using the mouse was significantly higher for elderly (compared to young) while with the touch screen there was no significant difference compared to young users. Statistical significance was found in the driving times (between checkpoints) with the robot for both interfaces where young participants performed the task in significantly less time than the elderly. Finally, we found significant difference in the training times of the system for the two groups where elderly needed significantly more training with the system than young users. Apart from these results, we saw that the input device plays a role in the usability of the system but there are also other probably more important factors that are related to cognitive issues as it seemed that some participants needed a better understanding of how the system works and to better calculate distances of objects in the remote location.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Subject:54 computer science
Programme:Human Media Interaction MSc (60030)
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