Prioritising Design Features for Companion Robots Aimed at Older Adults: Stakeholder Survey Ranking Results
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Companion robots are social robots often resembling animals with potential wellbeing benefits for older adults. However, some such devices have failed possibly through inappropriate design. Method: Questionnaires were completed by 113 participants at nine health and care events. Participants were predominantly relevant professionals. Participants approached our interaction station, interacted with eight companion robots or alternatives, then completed questionnaires; ranking aesthetic, behaviour, technology, feel and interaction features and estimating affordable price. Results: Features ranked highly were: interactive response to vocalisations and touch, huggable size, soft fur, variety of behaviours/sounds, realistic movements, eye contact with large cute eyes, being realistic, familiar, easy to use and possessing simulated warmth. Participants thought −£225 was affordable. Conclusion: We contribute priority features for stakeholders to inform future developments. Contrasting unfamiliar embodiment of some devices, stakeholders support familiar, realistic aesthetics, with implications for enhanced acceptability, adoption and more consistent wellbeing outcomes.