Maintaining learning motivation of older people by combining household appliance with a communication robot

  • Osawa H
  • Orszulak J
  • Godfrey K
 et al. 
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Today's household appliances are quickly increasing their features and functions. These new technologies require innovative training methods to maintain learning motivation especially with older users, because they may need more time to learn. Conventional manuals are insufficient to maintain motivation in this population. Previously studied assistive communication robots also have difficulty explaining a second device because their strong presence distracts the user from the device during explanation. We propose an anthropomorphized learning method that sustains older people's motivations to learn new technologies. Our method creates an anthropomorphized household appliance using robot eyes and arms. This method assists the learning process using human expressions. These human-like expressions attract users during training and maintain learning motivation. Our system uses three forms of anthropomorphization: pointing, directive motion, and emotion. We designed and implemented both hardware and software and evaluated the method by training older people to learn a vacuum's features. Our method increased older people's emotional status by an average of 2.53 points compared with the manual learning that decreased emotional status by -.53. This increased emotional status suggests that our system could maintain older users' motivation more effectively compared with traditional manual methods. ©2010 IEEE.

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