Accompany: Acceptable robotiCs COMPanions for AgeiNG years - multidimensional aspects of human-system interactions
With changes in life expectancy across the world, technologies enhancing well-being of individuals, specifically for older people, are subject to a new stream of research and development. In this paper we present the ACCOMPANY project, a pan-European project which focuses on home companion technologies. The projects aims to progress beyond the state of the art in multiple areas such as empathic and social human-robot interaction, robot learning and memory visualisation, monitoring persons and chores at home, and technological integration of these multiple approaches on an existing robotic platform, Care-O-Bot®3 and in the context of a smart-home environment utilising a multitude of sensor arrays. The resulting prototype from integrating these developments undergoes multiple formative cycles and a summative evaluation cycle towards identifying acceptable behaviours and roles for the robot for example role as a butler or a trainer. Furthermore, the evaluation activities will use an evaluation grid in order to assess achievement of the identified user requirements, formulated in form of distinct scenarios. Finally, the project considers ethical concerns and by highlighting principles such as autonomy, independence, enablement, safety and privacy, it embarks on providing a discussion medium where user views on these principles and the existing tension between some of these principles for example tension between privacy and autonomy over safety, can be captured and considered in design cycles and throughout project developments.