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Home arrow Computer Science arrow Robotic Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice
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Discussion

The HRI studies presented in the chapter were for a variety of rehabilitation scenarios consisting of physical and social HRI. One of the predominant themes for both social and physical HRI is that users expect robots to adapt the level of difficulty of the rehabilitation task to their own specific capabilities. This adaptation is important for improving user engagement as well as user perceptions in terms of enjoyment and usefulness. For social HRI, the aesthetics of a robot influenced user acceptance and perceptions of a robot, but the particular desired features were dependent on the intended user population. HRI design in rehabilitation robots has focused on specific application areas or a demographically specific group. Therefore, conclusions cannot be easily generalized; currently, there is still no general consensus on the best HRI practices.

Future Directions

Human-robot interaction for rehabilitation robotics is an emerging field and research to date has primarily focused on the incorporation of HRI principles within the design of the robotic systems themselves. With respect to length of exposure, mainly short-term studies have been conducted. One of the important future directions for social and physical HRI will be to investigate the impact of long-term exposure and use of rehabilitation robots.

Currently, the majority of robots are implemented in one-on-one interaction scenarios. Therefore, the incorporation of these robotic systems in different interaction structures to maximize their use should also be investigated, including teams of multiple robots working together to simultaneously provide rehabilitation care to multiple users; multiple robots working together with therapists to provide care to individual or groups of users; and a robot independently providing care to multiple users at the same time. Consequently, it will be necessary to investigate the effective design of such interaction structures.

Most of the currently available research has focused on the development of rehabilitation robots targeted toward specific user groups without aiming for general consensus regarding the best practices to implement HRI principles. Therefore, significantly more research is needed to create such a body of knowledge.

 
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