Differences between young and old users when interacting with a humanoid robot: A qualitative usability study

Ronit Feingold-Polak, Avital Elishay, Yonat Shahar, Maayan Stein, Yael Edan, Shelly Levy-Tzedek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the aging of the population worldwide, humanoid robots are being used with an older population, e.g., stroke patients and people with dementia. There is a growing body of knowledge on how people interact with robots, but limited information on the difference between young and old adults in their preferences when interacting with humanoid robots and what factors influence these preferences.We developed a gamified robotic platform of a cognitive-motor task.We conducted two experiments with the following aims: To test how age, location of touch interaction (touching the robot's tablet or hand), and embodied presence of a humanoid robot affect the motivation of different age-group users to continue performing a cognitive-motor task. A total of 60 participants (30 old adults and 30 young adults) took part in two experiments with the humanoid Pepper robot (Softbank robotics). Both old and young adults reported they enjoyed the interaction with the robot as they found it engaging and fun, and preferred the embodied robot over the non-embodied computer screen. This study highlights that in order for the experience of the user to be positive a personalization of the interaction according to the age, the needs of the user, the characteristics, and the pace of the task is needed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • aging
  • embodiment
  • gamification
  • human-robot interaction
  • old adults
  • presence
  • socially assistive robots
  • timing
  • young adults

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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