Hobbit: Providing Fall Detection and Prevention for the Elderly in the Real World

Markus Bajones, David Fischinger, Astrid Weiss, Daniel Wolf, Markus Vincze, Paloma de la Puente, Tobias Körtner, Markus Weninger, Konstantinos Papoutsakis, Damien Michel, Ammar Qammaz, Paschalis Panteleris, Michalis Foukarakis, Ilia Adami, Danai Ioannidi, Asterios Leonidis, Margherita Antona, Antonis Argyros, Peter Mayer, Paul PanekHåkan Eftring, Susanne Frennert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the robot developed within the Hobbit project, a socially assistive service robot aiming at the challenge of enabling prolonged independent living of elderly people in their own homes. We present the second prototype (Hobbit PT2) in terms of hardware and functionality improvements following first user studies. Our main contribution lies within the description of all components developed within the Hobbit project, leading to autonomous operation of 371 days during field trials in Austria, Greece, and Sweden. In these field trials, we studied how 18 elderly users (aged 75 years and older) lived with the autonomously interacting service robot over multiple weeks. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a multifunctional, low-cost service robot equipped with a manipulator was studied and evaluated for several weeks under real-world conditions. We show that Hobbit’s adaptive approach towards the user increasingly eased the interaction between the users and Hobbit. We provide lessons learned regarding the need for adaptive behavior coordination, support during emergency situations, and clear communication of robotic actions and their consequences for fellow researchers who are developing an autonomous, low-cost service robot designed to interact with their users in domestic contexts. Our trials show the necessity to move out into actual user homes, as only there can we encounter issues such as misinterpretation of actions during unscripted human-robot interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1754657
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Robotics
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 3

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Robotics


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