ICRA2018 Workshop

Workshop on Elderly Care Robotics – Technology and Ethics (WELCARO)
May 21, 2018
Brisbane, Australia

The number of elderly people living at home is increasing, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years. In countries like Japan, the number of elderly people is beginning to surpass the number of young people due to the low birth rate and long life expectancy. Thus, there is a need for technology, in term of software and hardware, that can support the elderly in independent living. A part of this is to help their family as well as make caregivers work effectively.

 A number of mobile robot companions have been developed, providing advanced sensing, reasoning and control. However, despite the available technology seems promising, it poses several challenges when used in real scenarios that range from how to handle complex and different environments to adequately address possible ethical issues that can arise from its use. For instance, technology can easily be seen as a threat to privacy, daily interpersonal contact and citizens' control over their own lives. It can even give rise to the elderly’s feeling being treated like an object rather than a human. Thus, it is important to address how robots and systems are going to be designed and used to avoid any negative impact and improve the elderly's quality of life. In addition to robot control and mechanics, ambient sensing and human-robot interaction are important topics in research on elderly care technology. This workshop is intended to share knowledge about technological opportunities and challenges regarding robots and systems for assistive care as well as open a dialogue within the scientific society about the ethical issues to be considered.

The workshop would target to contain sessions/talks on:
  • Sensing technology and sensor data analysis (technology for observing the condition of elderly, including techniques for evaluating their current – and potentially predict their future – state)
  • Robot companions (mobile robots targeting elderly care)
  • Applications (examples of robotics supporting elderly in living independently)
  • Ethics (what are the most relevant issues and how should they be addressed)
  • Concluding with a discussion session (potentially organized as a panel debate)
The authors of the accepted full paper will be invited to submit an extended version for inclusion in a special issue of Journal of Intelligent and Robotic Systems (Springer, impact factor 1.5).

Confirmed invited speakers (more to be added)
Professor Kenji Suzuki, Tsukuba University, Japan

Prof. Laurel Riek, University of California San Diego, US 

Dr. Yoshio Matsumoto, AIST, Tsukuba, Japan, "
Development and Introduction of Robotic Devices for Elderly Care in Japan


The workshop is partially supported by the following research projects:
  • JST CREST "Computational and cognitive neuroscientific approaches for understanding the tender care", under grant agreement JPMJCR17A5.
  • COINMAC "Collaboration on Intelligent Machines" funded by Research Council of Norway, under grant agreement 261645.