Recent studies have addressed the various benefits of companion robots and expanded the research scope to their design. However, the viewpoints of older adults have not been deeply investigated. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the distinctive viewpoints of older adults by comparing them with those of younger adults. Thirty-one older and thirty-one younger adults participated in an eye-tracking experiment to investigate their impressions of a bear-like robot mockup. They also completed interviews and surveys to help us understand their viewpoints on the robot design. The gaze behaviors and the impressions of the two groups were significantly different. Older adults focused significantly more on the robot’s face and paid little attention to the rest of the body. In contrast, the younger adults gazed at more body parts and viewed the robot in more detail than the older adults. Furthermore, the older adults rated physical attractiveness and social likeability of the robot significantly higher than the younger adults. The specific gaze behavior of the younger adults was linked to considerable negative feedback on the robot design. Based on these empirical findings, we recommend that impressions of older adults be considered when designing companion robots.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited