An assistive household robot: Doing more than just cleaning

Julia Kantorovitch, Janne Väre, Vesa Pehkonen, Arto Laikari, H. Seppälä

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to create new ideas for assistive technology products at home, especially products utilizing robotic consumer appliances available in the homes of elderly people. The work was founded on a reported increase in household robots as well as an ageing population in the industrialized world. Design/methodology/approach: Technology should be something that is perceived as belonging to our own world that fits our daily practices. Earlier studies show that in addition to cleaning functions, new household robots could change home routines and people's relationship to them. Taking the previous studies as a starting point, the paper proposes a vacuum cleaner robot as a platform for developing pervasive safety services and describe implementation of a conceptual prototype which brings the feeling of safety to an older person and their relatives by assisting in case of accidents. Moreover, the results are presented of an empirical evaluation of the prototype with end-users. Findings: It is proved that reasonably priced off-the-shelf components can be used to build the safety product demonstration model. The initial evaluation results, as well as referenced studies show that the acceptance rate of a household robot-based product is high, which is encouraging for further research in this domain. Also the paper could pinpoint areas that will require further work. Research limitations/implications: To add more practicality to the research and move towards product development, a strong industrial partner involved in household robotics would be needed. For increased reliability and robustness, more research is required in areas of advanced sensing technology and decision algorithms. Originality/value: A novel concept of a safety product for elderly care based on a vacuum cleaner robot is presented and an attempt is made to increase awareness that there will be a demand for such products.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)64-76
    JournalJournal of Assistive Technologies
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • elderly care
    • assistive technology
    • household robots
    • safety products
    • service robots


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