The ACCOMPANY project is developing a robotic companion that will provide a range of services to older users, to facilitate such independent living at home. A state of the art service robot platform, Care-O-bot 3 (developed by German manufacturer, Fraunhofer IPA), is being used to assess user requirements and user acceptance of the robot. The robot is also used as a platform to advance the state-of-the art of service robotics and social and empathic user-robot interaction. The proposed system will provide physical, cognitive and social assistance in everyday home tasks, and will contribute to the re-ablement of the user, by assisting them to carry out daily tasks on their own, as well as encouraging a co-learner relationship, where the robot and person can learn together.
The results from project user studies are being fed back to adapt the technology, so that it better suits user demands and preferences, while using three test sites in three different European countries (UK, the Netherlands, and France) gives the research team the opportunity to consider the effects of cultural differences. Through identifying the main issues and barriers to personal independence, and by targeting these barriers using technological solutions, the consortium’s long-term vision is to prevent elderly people having to go into care homes prematurely.