Problem description and starting point Both robotics and AAL are young and interdisciplinary areas of research with numerous interfaces to other branches of R & D. Consequently, the field of “AAL Robotics”, combining both disciplines, has not yet been precisely defined and does not present accepted structures and concepts that would allow to communicate unequivocally its methods, projects, and approaches. The last few years have witnessed an intensification of efforts in AAL Robotics within the AAL community but also in the HRI and robotics research communities at large, as is illustrated by prototypes developed, for example, in the projects Domeo, Hobbit, KSERA, Companionable, etc. which have demonstrated a multitude of positive (as well as some negative) effects of assistive robots. These and other projects have resulted in channelling more funding into the AAL Robotics domain. However, a deficit persists with regard to studies that analyse the potential of assistive service robots from the perspectives of actual satisfaction of user needs, technical readiness, ethics, law, and commercialization.
Aims and methods The central aim of the study is the realistic presentation of the potential of AAL Robotics, based on the analysis of parameters drawn from user needs, technical readiness, and existing business models. Instead of compiling yet another collection of individual solutions and projects, the PotenziAAL Study aggregates existing knowledge gained from analysis of secondary sources with knowledge generated from primary sources such as expert interviews, a workshop and user focus groups in order to achieve a comprehensive picture of the state of the art in AAL Robotics and its future potential. The study will develop categories and criteria in order to foster exact characterization, comparability and quality assurance in AAL Robotics.
Results The results of the PotenziAAL study are intended to serve the AAL and Robotics Communities as an overview of current potential and limits, decision makers on programme level as a background for designing future funding and evaluation schemes, and future proposal and project developers as an orientation on needs, concepts, and state of the art. In particular, results are
- a set of application scenarios for AAL Robotics, generated from literature and validated / expanded by experts in gerontology, medicine, and the nursing sciences
- overview and delimitation of the diffuse multidisciplinary field of AAL Robotics by developing and using a taxonomy for categorizing existing projects and products, and by analyzing the state of the art with its inherent challenges and potentials.
- a set of business models, derived analytically from existing models in the domain of related research and innovation products, taking into account ethical and legal aspects.
The project PhysicAAL is sponsored within the framework of the benefit program by FFG (Austrian Research Promotion Agency).