Towards a communication model for a sociable companion robot
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 18:48 by Lauren Dwyer
Anxiety has a lifetime prevalence of 31% of Canadians (Katzman et al. 2014). In Canada, psychological services are only covered by provincial health insurance if the psychologist is employed in the public sector; this means long wait times in the public system or expensive private coverage (Canadian Psychological Association). Currently, social robots and Socially Assistive Robots (SAR) are used in the treatment of elderly individuals in nursing homes, as well as children with autism (Feil-Seifer & Matarić, 2011; Tapus et al., 2012). The following MRP is the first step in a long-term project that will contend with the issues faced by individuals with anxiety using a combined communications, social robotics, and mental health approach to develop an anxiety specific socially assistive robot companion. The focus of this MRP is the development of a communication model that includes three core aspects of a social robot companion: Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), anxiety disorders, and technical design. The model I am developing will consist of a series of suggestions for the robot that could be implemented in a long-term study. The model will include suggestions towards the design, communication means, and technical requirements, as well as a model for evaluating the robot from a Human-Robot- Interaction perspective. This will be done through an evaluation of three robots, Sphero’s BB-8 App Enabled Droid, Aldebaran’s Nao, and the Spin Master Zoomer robot. Evaluation measures include modified versions of Shneiderman’s (1992) evaluation of human-factors goals, Feil-Seifer et al.’s (2007) SAR evaluative questions, prompts for the description of both the communication methods and the physical characteristics, and a record of the emotional response of the user when interacting with the robot.