Case Report: Implications of Doing Research on Socially Assistive Robots in Real Homes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The current paper addresses the implications of doing research on socially assistive robots in real homes. In contrast to laboratory studies, studies of robots in their intended natural environments can provide insights into people’s experiences of robots, and if and how a robot becomes embedded and used in people’s everyday life. However, moving robots out of the lab and into real life environments poses several challenges. Laboratory methods mainly focus on cause-and-effect relations between independent and dependent variables, while researchers who are conducting studies in real homes have much less control. In home trials, researchers need to decide what kind of data is obtainable and available. In real homes, researchers face unique challenges that require unique and pragmatic approaches. Any single study conducted in a real home is likely to have methodological limitations. Therefore, several different studies using different robots and methods are needed before the results can be converged in order to reach conclusions that are convincingly supported. This paper is an effort to provide such a report on a specific empirical case and converging findings from other studies. The goal is to provide an account of the research challenges and opportunities encountered when introducing a robot into its intended practice: the homes of older people. The aim is to give enough details for other researchers to critically examine and systematically build on the insights and findings presented.


External organisations
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Robotics


  • Case report, Everyday life, Older people, Science and technology studies, Social robots
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-415
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017 Jun 1
Publication categoryResearch