2009 Volume 8 Issue 1 Pages 59-66
Familiarity is one of the most important requirements for human symbiosis robots, such as care service robots. To improve familiarity of a human symbiosis robot, we proposed a novel concept called “robot avatar.” A robot avatar is a small robot mounted on a main robot, and it performs gestures instead of the main robot. Although our previous study revealed that a robot avatar was effective for increasing users’ familiarity with a robot, the effect of users’ age on the improvement of familiarity by a robot avatar was not investigated well because the most of the subjects in the previous study were young. When considering the application of a robot avatar to care service robots, it is important to investigate the effect of a robot avatar on elderly people. In this paper, we focus on elderly subjects, and carried out an experiment to test if a robot avatar is effective for elderly people to improve familiarity. The result was positive, and the effect of a robot avatar on elderly people was stronger than that on younger people. From a comparison of the results from elderly subjects with those from younger subjects, we found that the elderly paid less attention to dialogue between a human and a robot.