University of Twente Student Theses


Evaluating research on social robots for individuals with intellectual disability

Westra, L.P.M. (2020) Evaluating research on social robots for individuals with intellectual disability.

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Abstract:Social robots are becoming more common in today’s society. These robots are used in many application areas that require human-robot interaction. There have been various examples of robots being used in activities of children with special needs, such as intellectual disability (ID). Despite the benefits shown of previous research, it still occurs that some robots are rarely used in real-life settings after the relevant study ends. Therefore, it should be studied how adequately current research on social robots for people with ID is performing. This paper provides a literature review on existing social robotic technologies utilized for intellectually disabled individuals to identify relevant research gaps in existing literature. This research answers the question how current research on social robots tested on intellectually disabled individuals can be improved. In relation to this, this research will unveil strengths and weaknesses of existing technologies in the implementation for intellectual disabled individuals. Firstly, existing literature on social robots reviewed for and tested on people with ID was obtained by performing a search query. Thereafter, a framework was used to specify three evaluation variables (‘technical’, ‘usability’ and ‘effectiveness of interaction’) to evaluate the included papers. In this research, 15 studies were included of which 2 discussed technical evaluation, 10 studies covered at least one of the usability evaluation aspects and 2 studies used a mixed method of quantitative and qualitative research to evaluate the effectiveness of interaction. A few papers performed very well, but in the majority of the papers, there is room for improvement in different aspects. Technical aspects were not thoroughly or not at all evaluated, in many of the included papers, it could not be detected how a robot’s aspects influence the outcome of the human-robot interaction and most research solely utilized quantitative or qualitative research instead of both. This paper can be used in a practical matter by robotic corporations or engineers in developing future robot technologies for people with ID. Furthermore, this paper will act as a base for further research on the efficiency of social robots within the area of ID for both technical and social review.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:EEMCS: Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Programme:Business & IT BSc (56066)
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