Session Organizers: Daisuke Chugo (Kwansei Gakuin University), Sho Yokota (Toyo University), Jin-Hua She (Tokyo University of Technology), Hiroshi Hashimoto (AIIT)
Human-assistive technologies are in high demand for overcoming the challenges of an aging society. Many assistive technologies considering human factors have been widely proposed in many conferences, journals, and of course, previous Ro-Man symposiums. The goal of these technologies is to be of practical use to their target people, which may include handicapped or elderly people, and make them happy in their daily life.
However, many reports have presented only concepts or technical achievements in laboratory rather than describing the evaluation of these technologies in actual use. There is a reason for this tendency; if we want to discuss technologies in the real world, we will have many difficulties (we call these, collectively, a “difficulty wall”). These studies will require complex procedures, for example, clearing safety reviews and implementation of informed consent. Furthermore, they will require cooperation between different fields, for example, therapists and doctors, and prototypes of these studies need to fulfill several governmental safety standards. To pass this wall, researchers need to be extremely energetic and have time, money, and human resources. Passing this difficulty wall will lead to many benefits. Through demonstrations in the actual situation, we sometimes find technical problems that go unnoticed in the laboratory. Furthermore, the people we are actually trying to help can provide important feedback.