Between March and May 2022 we tested for the first time in Switzerland, Italy and the Netherlands the prototype of the Guardian robot with seniors in their own homes. At the same time (in)formal carers participated and tested the Guardian Caregiver application by setting reminders, requests and messages for the senior. The goal of this pilot was to gather the experiences of end-users when using the Guardian system for a couple of days in their daily lives. This way we were able to gather information for further development of the Guardian system.
In total 14 seniors, 10 informal carers and 12 formal carers tested the Guardian system. In general participants were positive, they see potential and added value of Guardian as a social companion, monitoring tool and coach. A variety of expectations and recommendations were shared about what is still missing.
Some of the most important recommendations were:
1.Improve the autonomy of the senior: Formal and informal carers can set reminders, but (especially in the Netherlands) end-users want to be able to set certain things themselves (e.g. appointments). Also it should be really easy for the senior to switch the robot on and off.
2.Improve interaction between robot & the senior: Seniors expect that GUARDIAN is able to talk to them and answer their questions, they expect a dialogue. The robot is however mainly interacting based on what the (in)formal carer programmed in the caregiver application.
3.Add fun factor: Make it more fun to use, that will also help to foster desirability, ethical acceptability and sustainability of the Guardian system