I have a B.Sc. in Cognitive Science from the University of Skövde, Sweden and an M.Sc. in Human Factors and Ergonomics from the University College of London. I have taught and worked in the fields of usability and user centred design in Sweden and abroad. My main interest is in people – young and old – and how we can make everyday life easier through new technology and products. I have extensive experience from interviewing older people, am trained in counselling and volunteer at BRIS (Children's Rights in Society). It is a privilege to carry out research on how we in the future can make use of robots to assist seniors living in their homes.
I am involved in two projects: GIRAFF+ and HOBBIT.
The GIRAFF+ Project – Combining Social Interaction and Long Term Monitoring for Promoting Independent Living, is funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. The project focuses on smart and self-customized environments that make life easier for elderly people who choose to live in ordinary housing and provide the everyday support they need (FP/-ICT-2011-7). The project aims, by means of robot technology, to support senior citizen's communication needs, safety and security, and to facilitate early detection of health changes.
HOBBIT – The Mutual Care Robot, is also funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme. It aims to develop, in close contact with older people, the kinds of help they would like from a robot and then develop a robot that can enable them to continue living and functioning in their homes.
The robot will be able to assist in preventing falls (and call for help if necessary), monitor and guide the person at home, learn to recognize objects, pick them up and move them. It can also fill the social functions of maintaining routines and pleasantly reminding the person when he or she forgets.
The uniqueness of this project is in trying to find the robotic characteristics that trigger a relationship and mutual care between the old person and the robot. The robot should be able to understand and act a bit like a pet that needs some care but that also provides support and assistance to the older person. We want to establish a strong connection between the user and the robot, thus providing a greater acceptance of the robot compared to previous approaches in the field where the focus has primarily been on the robot's functions. Communication with the robot will take place by means of speech and gestures and the robot will be able to ask for clarification when it does not understand and thus learn how to act.