In view of the demographic change and the expected shortage of nursing staff, the field of robotics is becoming increasingly important in the service and care sector for older adults. Robotics offers potential support at various levels – such as by maintaining the independence and well-being of older adults or relieving the workload of nursing staff or care-giving relatives.
While many research projects already exist on technical aspects such as the safety and effectiveness of robots, many questions concerning the acceptance of robots by older adults are still left unanswered. The acceptance and the associated affective reactions of end users are crucial, particularly if more use of robots is to be made in the service and care sector for older adults in the future.
The IAF is currently conducting research on the affective reactions of the older adults towards service and nursing robots within the framework of a newly approved project: «Affective factors of robot acceptance in people over 60». The project is being funded by the Suzanne and Hans Biäsch Foundation for the Promotion of Applied Psychology.
The competence centre also deals with questions relating to the needs of end users of robots. One example is the successfully completed project «Kitchen Assistance Arm: Robot Arm as a Kitchen Aid for Older Adults», which was conducted in collaboration with the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) and Pro Senectute Zurich.