The domestication of robotic vacuum cleaners among seniors

Susanne Frennert, Britt Östlund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hype of robots as companions and caregivers for seniors raises questions concerning not only the technology but also its impact on practice, values and norms among seniors. This article focuses on how seniors adopt, utilise and make sense of robotic vacuum cleaners in their lives. Qualitative interviews and observations were conducted with ten seniors over a 13-month period, between July 2013 and Aug. 2014. The findings show that: (i) Seniors are enthusiastic about adopting the technology (robotic vacuum cleaners) because it is perceived as beneficial in the prioritisation and negotiation of activities in everyday practice. (ii) The adoption of robotic vacuum cleaners is a process characterised by complexity and ambivalence, which is affected by societal norms. These include activities seniors consider as ‘normal’ in everyday practice; in this case, house hygiene. (iii) Robotic vacuum cleaners transform everyday practice and their symbolic meaning is constantly negotiated. Robotic vacuum cleaners are adopted not just because they are functional and useful, but because they are a means by which seniors can cope with everyday life and conserve physical energy for more meaningful activities, such as meeting friends and spending time on hobbies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-168
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Engineering and Technologies

Free keywords

  • Keywords: everyday practice
  • seniors
  • robots
  • adoption
  • robotic vacuum cleaners


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