A Cross-Cultural Evaluation of Domestic Assistive Robots

Gabriella Cortellessa, Amy Loutfi, Federico Pecora, Massimiliano Scopelliti, Gion Koch Svedberg, Lorenza Tiberio

This paper presents the first steps in a series of on-going user evaluations of intelligent environments for supporting elderly users at home. We specifically focus on a comparison of elderly perceptions of social assistive domestic robots between Italian and Swedish user groups. The evaluation was carried out in Rome, Italy and Örebro, Sweden, including surrounding towns. The results, obtained through a video-based methodology, highlight the variety in level of appreciation of domestic robots for elderly care as it relates to a number of aspects of culture which are not necessarily trivial to identify. Our results suggest some specific factors as important for interpreting the difference in perception, e.g., the user's acquaintance with ICT (Information and Communication Technology) and the social policies implemented in the two countries. Also, the results show interesting commonalities, such as the general agreement among Swedish and Italian user groups on the physical aspect of the robot.

Submitted: Sep 12, 2008