Indexed on: 20 Jan '16Published on: 20 Jan '16Published in: International Journal of Social Robotics
Telepresence robotic systems are proposed in different contexts and specifically in the area of social robotics for assisting older adults at home. Similarly to other robotic systems, such robots are often designed and then evaluated in laboratory settings for a limited period of time. Lab-based evaluations present limitations because they do not take into account the different challenges imposed by the fielding of robotic solutions into real contexts for longer periods. In order to perform long-term experiments in real ecological settings it is very important to define a structured approach to assess the impact of a prolonged and constant use of the telepresence robot. This paper proposes a methodology in the area of elderly people support, called MARTA, for MultidimensionalAssessment of telepresenceRoboTfor olderAdults. It introduces the main variables of interest as well as the instruments and administration timeline for assessing relevant changes that may occur over time. MARTA is also validated in a one year-long case study during which a telepresence robot, called Giraff, has been deployed and iteratively assessed. The paper also provides remarks on the technology readiness and suggestions for its improvements.