In this work, we present a new adaptive socially assistive robotic (SAR) system that aims to provide a customized help protocol through motivation,
encouragements, and companionship to users suffering from cognitive changes related to aging and/or Alzheimer's disease.
The American Alzheimer's Association reported that more
than one million residents in assisted living residences and
nursing homes have some form of dementia or cognitive
impairment and that number is increasing every day. The rapidly growing number of people suffering from
Alzheimer's disease could cripple healthcare services in the
next few decades. The latest estimate is that 26.6 million
people were suffering from Alzheimer's disease worldwide
in 2006, and that the number will increase to 100 million by
2050, or 1 in 85 of the total population.
While there is no cure for dementia, medication and
special therapy may improve symptoms or slow down the
disease; most sufferers need some kind of assistance. Nonpharmacological
treatments focus on physical, emotional,
and mental activity. Engagement in activities is one of the key
elements of effective dementia care. Activities (e.g., music
therapy, arts and crafts) help individuals with dementia
and cognitive impairment maintain their functional abilities
and can enhance quality of life.
Our approach uses the socially assistive robotics (SAR) methodology, human-robot interaction aimed
at social rather than physical assistance, aimed at providing long-term
affordable personalized cognitive assistance, motivation, and
companionship to users suffering from cognitive changes
related to aging, dementia and/or Alzheimer's disease. In
addition to serving as a social and cognitive tool, the robot
is also capable of providing detailed reports of patient
progress to caretakers, physicians, and therapists. The work
aims to validate that SAR systems can establish productive
interactions with users, and can be effective at prompting,
coaching, and motivating the user during cognitive exercises.
The specific aims of the proposed study are as follows:
Validate that a robotic system can safely and effectively interact with
elderly users suffering from cognitive changes related to aging and/or
Validate that a robotic system can establish a productive interaction with
the user that can serve to motivate and remind the user about specific
One basic experimental scenarios was used:
One-on-one interaction between the robot and the user, either in a separate room
or in public areas of the senior living facility.
The main scenario was:
Cognitive games: the robot will monitor the user while the user is performing a
cognitive task, and will provide help, motivation, and encouragement. The game used in this project is a music game
called "Name That Tune".
Experimental Design - Cognitive Stimulation Music Game
Example of Experiment
Here are some recent videos showing the role of physical embodiment of the robot and the robot behavior adaptation to user cognitive level of disability:
video1 and video2
- Adriana Tapus, Cristian Tapus, and Maja Mataric' (2009) "Long Term Learning and Online Robot Behavior Adaptation for Individuals with Physical and Cognitive Impairments", In Proceedings of FSR 2009, Pittsburgh, USA, July, 2009.(under review)
- Adriana Tapus, Cristian Tapus, and Maja Mataric' (2009) "Music Therapist Robot for Individuals with Cognitive Impairments ", In Proceedings of HRI 2009 (poster paper), San Diego, CA, USA, March 10-13, 2009.
- Adriana Tapus and Maja Mataric' (2009) "Improving the Quality of Life of People with Dementia through the Use of Socially Assistive Robots", In Proceedings of the International Symposium on QoLT, July 2009 (under review).
- Adriana Tapus, Eric Wade, and Maja Mataric' (2008) "Using a Socially Assistive Robot in Gait Recovery and Training for Individuals with Cognitive Impairments", In Proceedings of AAAI Fall Symposium AI in Eldercare: New Solutions to Old Problem, Washington, DC, USA, November 7-9, 2008.[PDF]
- Adriana Tapus (2008) "Long-term learning and adaptation in intelligent personal robotics", In Machine Learning: Theory, Applications, Experiences Workshop for Women in Machine Learning , Vancouver, Canada, December 2008. [PDF]
- Adriana Tapus and Maja J Mataric' (2008) "Socially Assistive Robotic Music Therapist for Maintaining Attention of Older Adults with Cognitive Impairments", In Proceedings of AAAI Fall Symposium AI in Eldercare: New Solutions to Old Problem , Washington, DC, USA, November 7-9, 2008. [PDF]
- Adriana Tapus and Maja J Mataric' (2008) "Active Learning for Socially Assistive Robotics for Stroke Rehabilitation and Dementia Care", In Interactive Robot Learning Workshop, Proceedings of the Robotics: Science and Systems Conference, Zurich, Switzerland, June, 2008. [PDF]
- Adriana Tapus, Juan Fasola, and Maja Mataric' (2008) “Cognitive Assistance and Physical Therapy for Dementia Patients
Using Socially Assistive Robots”, In Social Interaction with Intelligent Inddor Robots (SI3R) Workshop, Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Pasadena, CA, USA, May, 2008. [PDF]
- Adriana Tapus, Juan Fasola, and Maja Mataric' (2008) “Socially Assistive Robots for Individuals Suffering From Dementia”, In Robotic Helpers: User Interaction, Interfaces and Companions in Assistive and Therapy Robotics Workshop, Proceedings of the 3rd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, March, 2008. [PDF]
This work is supported by the USC NIH Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) pilot program and National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAFKI) program. We are also grateful to our partner: Silverado Senior Living.