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Would You Like Your Assistant Human or Robotic?


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A human researcher working with a humanoid robot.

Healthcare providers prefer assistance in the form of a robotic helper for some activities, but want human help with activities like daily living tasks.

Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have interviewed healthcare providers about assistive robots, and found that more than half would prefer assistance in the form of a robotic helper over a human. However, professional caregivers prefer the assistance of robots for certain tasks, such as instrumental activities of daily living, which would include helping with housework and reminding patients when to take medication.

Healthcare providers still want to work with human assistants on activities like daily living tasks, especially those involving direct, physical interactions such as bathing, getting dressed, and feeding people. There was no overwhelming concern that assistive robots would replace them in the workplace.

"In fact, the professional caregivers we interviewed viewed robots as a way to improve their jobs and the care they're able to give patients," says Tracy Mitzner with the Human Factors and Aging Lab.

The team will present their findings at the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris, which runs through May 2.

From Georgia Institute of Technology
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