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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 538169, 10 pages
Review Article

Robotics to Enable Older Adults to Remain Living at Home

1Cognitive and Exercise Neuroscience Unit, School of Psychology, Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
2Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
3Department of Social Work, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
4Department of Nursing, The University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
5School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Received 30 April 2012; Revised 24 September 2012; Accepted 1 October 2012

Academic Editor: Roger A. Fielding

Copyright © 2012 Alan J. Pearce et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Given the rapidly ageing population, interest is growing in robots to enable older people to remain living at home. We conducted a systematic review and critical evaluation of the scientific literature, from 1990 to the present, on the use of robots in aged care. The key research questions were as follows: (1) what is the range of robotic devices available to enable older people to remain mobile, independent, and safe? and, (2) what is the evidence demonstrating that robotic devices are effective in enabling independent living in community dwelling older people? Following database searches for relevant literature an initial yield of 161 articles was obtained. Titles and abstracts of articles were then reviewed by 2 independent people to determine suitability for inclusion. Forty-two articles met the criteria for question 1. Of these, 4 articles met the criteria for question 2. Results showed that robotics is currently available to assist older healthy people and people with disabilities to remain independent and to monitor their safety and social connectedness. Most studies were conducted in laboratories and hospital clinics. Currently limited evidence demonstrates that robots can be used to enable people to remain living at home, although this is an emerging smart technology that is rapidly evolving.