Keynote presentation

Robots to Support Successful Ageing: Potential and Challenges

Wendy A. Rogers, Ph.D.
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

There is much potential for robots to support older adults in their goal of successful aging with high quality of life.  However, for human-robot interactions to be successful, the robots must be designed with user needs, preferences, and attitudes in mind.  The Human Factors and Aging Laboratory is specifically oriented toward developing a fundamental understanding of aging and bringing that knowledge to bear on design issues important to the enjoyment, quality, and safety of everyday activities of older adults.  Our research does not emphasize loss of function associated with aging; rather, we wish to understand how to enhance a person’s ability to function well in later life, perhaps through technology.  In this presentation, I will describe our research with robots: personal, social, telepresence.  We focus on the human side of human-robot interaction, answering questions such as, are older adults willing to interact with a robot?  What do they want the robot to do?  To look like?  How do they want to communicate with a robot?  Through research examples, I will illustrate the potential for robots to support successful aging as well as the challenges that remain for the design and widespread deployment of robots in this context.

Brief biography

Wendy A. Rogers, Ph.D. – Shahid and Ann Carlson Khan Professor of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  Her primary appointment is in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health.  She also has an appointment in the Educational Psychology Department and is an affiliate faculty member of the Beckman Institute and the Illinois Informatics Institute. She received her B.A. from the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth, and her M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1991) from the Georgia Institute of Technology.  She is a Certified Human Factors Professional (BCPE Certificate #1539). Her research interests include design for aging; technology acceptance; human-automation interaction; aging-in-place; human-robot interaction; aging with disabilities; cognitive aging; and skill acquisition and training.  She is the Director of the Technology for Health and Independence Graduate Program; Program Director of CHART (Collaborations in Health, Aging, Research, and Technology); and Director of the Human Factors and Aging Laboratory. Her research is funded by: the National Institutes of Health (National Institute on Aging) as part of the Center for Research and Education on Aging and Technology Enhancement; and the Department of Health and Human Services (National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research; NIDILRR) Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Technologies to Support Successful Aging with Disability.  She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES).  She currently serves as the Chief Editorial Advisor for APA.