What can a Personal Robot do for you?
Guido Bugmann and Simon. N. Copleston
School of Computing and Mathematics
University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth PL4 8AA, United Kingdom email@example.com, Abstract. This is a report on the expectations of future users of personal robots based on a survey of 358 respondents with a median age of 22 years. A questionnaire was designed using a “text open ended” approach . The questions along with an introduction and sketch of a humanoid robot in a home were used to “paint the picture” of the respondents having a robot assistant at home.
Respondent were then asked what they would ask the robot to do at various times of the day, at weekends and while away on holiday. The task category of
“Housework” was the most popular, with 39% of the overall answers. “Food
Preparation” and “Personal Service” were the second and third most popular categories with 16% and 14% respectively. Although many of such tasks can also be done by humans, there are potential qualitative benefits in using robots.
These results suggest that research should provide solutions for cooking meals, tidying up, general cleaning and the preparation of drinks.
Keywords: Personal robots, Service robot, User expectations, Survey, User survey, Household tasks, Robot tasks.
The robotic market has been predicted to boom in the near future, especially in the personal and service sectors . For this boom to actually happen, robot engineers need to develop useful application and corresponding robot skills. The present research was undertaken with the aim to quantify the user’s expectations and inform on potential applications.
Previous surveys have involved a limited selection of tasks. In one survey , respondents were asked to select from a list of 6 applications (Household (vacuuming etc.), Gardening, Guarding the house/family, Looking after children, Entertainment, and an open category “Other”. The five named applications appeared to be the users’ preferred tasks. In another survey , respondents had to select tasks from a list of 28 tasks that the literature usually assigns to assistant robots. Both studies produced results strongly biased by the initial selection of tasks. In contrast, this study uses an open question format where respondent can mention any task. It is however biased by the humanoid robot shape suggested to the respondents, the pre-defined situations, e.g. time of the day, described in the questionnaire.
Proc. TAROS'2011, Sheffield, LNAI 6856, Springer, p.360-371.
In the next two sections, the survey method and process is explained, followed by an explanation of how the open-ended answers are quantified and categorized. The results are presented in section 4, including the frequency of individual task requests and the relative importance of categories such as household work, cooking, etc. In section 5, features of the requested tasks and survey method are discussed.
Implications for research and market are proposed.
2 Survey Design
Surveys can be carried out using a variety of methods. Here we need to discover uses of a “really new“ product that is not an evolution of an existing product. In such a case, “information acceleration” methods are generally used, bringing the future to the respondent, or projecting the respondent into the future . For that purpose, an indepth questionnaire (figure 1) was designed to induce the respondent to imagine life with a robot and “day dream” interactions with the robot, and the working day of his or her robot. The design benefited from the advice of specialists in social and market research. Three data collection methods were used for this questionnaire, personal interviews, paper questionnaires and internet survey. In total 358 respondents completed the questionnaire. 260 aged 11 to 17, 87 aged 18 to 60…