A novel robotic object for healthy older adults’ feelings of “Being-Seen”. One of the challenges faced by healthy older adults is experiencing feelings of not “being-seen”. Companion robots, commonly designed with zoomorphic or humanoid appearance show success among clinical older adults, but healthy older adults find them degrading. We present the design and implementation of a novel non-humanoid robot.
The robot’s primary function is a cognitive word game. Social interaction is conveyed as a secondary function, using non verbal gestures, inspired by dancers’ movement. In a lab study, 39 healthy older adults interacted with the prototype in 3 conditions: Companion-Function; Game-Function; and No-Function. Results show the non-verbal gestures were associated with feelings of “being-seen”, and willingness to accept the robot into their home was influenced by its function, with game significantly higher than companion.
We conclude that robot designers should further explore the potential of non humanoid robots as a new class of companion robots, with a primary function that is not companionship.

A cognitive non-verbal game aimed to provide feelings of “being-seen”