Designing social robots for older adults


Personal Robots

Personal Robots

Most countries are projected to see the number of people ages 65 and older surpass the population under the age of 15 by 2050. The limitations of current solutions to assisting older adults, the increased social and emotional toll on caregivers, and the inability of institutions to create structural solutions in a timely manner calls for a paradigm shift in the way we approach aging.

As these new meanings of age, aged, and aging are re-negotiated at a personal and collective level, the main goal of this research initiative is to study aging adults’ daily living assistance, social and emotional needs, and intergenerational connection while exploring the optimized modalities for embodied agents to successfully deliver these interactions. We see embodied agents as a method to enable older adults to age-in-place, supporting them in ways such as promoting social connectedness, tracking vitals, coaching in emotional wellness, and assisting with medical adherence.

Our work is rooted in partnering with the community through co-design and participatory design methods to inform robot design by empowering older adults to engage in our research. We prioritize developing robot interactions that can be tested long-term in older adults’ homes to better inform how social robots can shape aging-in-place.

Currently, we are running a long-term codesign study with older adults. Over the course of the year, older adults will engage in interviews, interactive artwork, living with a robot, prototyping on a robot, and design guideline generation. 

If you are 70 years of age or older and interested in participating in future study opportunities, please contact Anastasia Ostrowski (