Robohub.org
 

Balance of privacy and control key to acceptance of robot bath assistants

by
15 October 2014



share this:

While the past decade has witnessed the emergence of various prototypes and research projects involving bathing robots, the public acceptance of the concept seems to largely depend on one socially sensitive topic: privacy.

Why make bathing robots in the first place? Those who develop bathing robots in Japan (e.g., Sanyo Electric Company) and those conducting research about bathing robots (e.g., Chih-Hung King et al., at Georgia Tech) make the following arguments:

  1. Bathing robots will bring about economic advantage in supporting the growing elderly population
  2. They can help increase the sense of privacy, independence and quality of life for the elderly being supported.

With these possible advantages in mind, how does the societal acceptance of these robots compare? And how does this interact with the varying level of autonomy a robot can have?

In our latest reader poll, we asked “What level of autonomy would you be comfortable with?” in a bathing robot.

As shown in the figure below, respondents generally accept and trust the idea of bathing robots: almost half said that they would prefer the robot to operate with a full level of autonomy without human supervision, another 39% of the participants said that they’d be comfortable giving partial control to the robot, and 13% said they would prefer full-autonomy that included human supervision. Only 4% of the participants said that they would prefer that the robot had no autonomy.

RHome2

We also examined the reasons why people would be comfortable with more autonomous operation of bathing robots than others. We found that the reasons are in a careful balance of two key factors: privacy and the need to control.

The main reason people gave in choosing full autonomy is that bathing is a private experience and one that is uncomfortable in the presence of a human caregiver. This seems to echo the arguments of the manufacturers and researchers studying this area, as described above.

On the other hand, the participants who are comfortable with only a partially autonomous robot didn’t quite trust that the fully autonomous version of the technology would be safe enough to use alone. For some people, having more manual control over the robot (semi to no autonomy) isn’t just about safety, it’s also about the ability to customize and control their bathing experience in order to improve comfort. A few participants also expressed concern for their privacy in relation to the robot (as opposed to the more common desire to maintain privacy in relation to a human caregiver).

While the notion of privacy varies from culture to culture, and further research could be done to study the cultural differences in the acceptance of robot bathing assistants, these results suggest that autonomous bath robots could be accepted by consumers so long as the user feels safe and in control of the robot.

The results of the poll presented in this post have been analyzed and written by Shalaleh Rismani and AJung Moon at the Open Roboethics initiative.



tags: , ,


Open Roboethics Initiative is a roboethics thinktank concerned with studying robotics-related design and policy issues.
Open Roboethics Initiative is a roboethics thinktank concerned with studying robotics-related design and policy issues.





Related posts :



Robotics Today latest talks – Raia Hadsell (DeepMind), Koushil Sreenath (UC Berkeley) and Antonio Bicchi (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia)

Robotics Today held three more online talks since we published the one from Amanda Prorok (Learning to Communicate in Multi-Agent Systems). In this post we bring you the last talks that Robotics Today (currently on hiatus) uploaded to their YouTube channel: Raia Hadsell from DeepMind talking about ‘Scalable Robot Learning in Rich Environments’, Koushil Sreenath from UC Berkeley talking about ‘Safety-Critical Control for Dynamic Robots’, and Antonio Bicchi from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia talking about ‘Planning and Learning Interaction with Variable Impedance’.
21 October 2021, by and

Sense Think Act Pocast: Erik Schluntz

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Erik Schluntz, co-founder and CTO of Cobalt Robotics, which makes a security guard robot. Erik speaks about how their robot handles elevators, how they have hum...
19 October 2021, by and

A robot that finds lost items

Researchers at MIT have created RFusion, a robotic arm with a camera and radio frequency (RF) antenna attached to its gripper, that fuses signals from the antenna with visual input from the camera to locate and retrieve an item, even if the item is buried under a pile and completely out of view.
18 October 2021, by

Robohub gets a fresh look

If you visited Robohub this week, you may have spotted a big change: how this blog looks now! On Tuesday (coinciding with Ada Lovelace Day and our ‘50 women in robotics that you need to know about‘ by chance), Robohub got a massive modernisation on its look by our technical director Ioannis K. Erripis and his team.
17 October 2021, by
ep.

339

podcast

High Capacity Ride Sharing, with Alex Wallar

In this episode, our interviewer Lilly speaks to Alex Wallar, co-founder and CTO of The Routing Company. Wallar shares his background in multi-robot path-planning and optimization, and his research on scheduling and routing algorithms for high-capacity ride-sharing. They discuss how The Routing Company helps cities meet the needs of their people, the technical ins and outs of their dispatcher and assignment system, and the importance of public transit to cities and their economics.
12 October 2021, by

50 women in robotics you need to know about 2021

It’s Ada Lovelace Day and once again we’re delighted to introduce you to “50 women in robotics you need to know about”! From the Afghanistan Girls Robotics Team to K.G.Engelhardt who in 1989 ...
12 October 2021, by and





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association