The initial goal of the Roobin project was to create a companion robot for elderly to help them with battling the feeling of loneliness. As elderly have trouble in accepting a robot as companion, the first step was to create a robot that is accepted by our target group. To achieve acceptance, several possible functionalities and aspects of the design were tested.
The key functionality, having a conversation with the robot, was tested in an elderly home, in combination with secondary gestures like head movement and mood light. The elderly were accepting the robots speech function and head movement whereas the inner light caused more confusion.
Roobin was completed as a team project, and was initiated by Van Breda, a Dutch company specialised in creating communicative technology for elderly care institutions. My main responsibility was to make the robot move and communicate during the testing. This included the design building and programming of the electronics in the prototype. I was also involved in other processes in the project, like formulation the design vision, the design and execution of part of the research activities as well as the creation of personas based on field and desk research.
To learn more about the goals and process of the project, watch the video!