The psychosocial effects of a companion robot: a randomized controlled trial.
This paper presents the results of a pilot study measuring and evaluating the intervention effects of voluntary in-home use of a socially assistive robot by older adults diagnosed with depression. The study was performed with 8 older adult patients over the course of one month, during which participants were provided the robot to use as they desired in their own homes. During the in-home study, several types of data was collected, including robotic sensor data from a collar worn by the robot, daily activity levels via a wristband (Jawbone) worn by the older adults, and weekly health outcome measures. Results of data analysis of the robotic intervention suggest that: 1) the use of the Paro robot in participants' homes significantly reduced the symptoms of depression for a majority of patients, and that 2) weekly fluctuations in patient depression levels can be predicted using a combination of robotic sensor data and Jawbone activity data (i.e. measuring their general activity levels and their interactions with the robot).