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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 438514, 11 pages
Research Article

Toward Monitoring and Increasing Exercise Adherence in Older Adults by Robotic Intervention: A Proof of Concept Study

School of Informatics, Indiana University, 535 West Michigan Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA

Received 31 May 2011; Revised 17 August 2011; Accepted 18 August 2011

Academic Editor: Haruhisa Kawasaki

Copyright © 2011 Prathik Gadde 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.


Socially assistive robots have the potential to improve the quality of life of older adults by encouraging and guiding their performance of rehabilitation exercises while offering cognitive stimulation and companionship. This study focuses on the early stages of developing and testing an interactive personal trainer robot to monitor and increase exercise adherence in older adults. The robot physically demonstrates exercises for the user to follow and monitors the user's progress using a vision-processing unit that detects face and hand movements. When the user successfully completes a move, the robot gives positive feedback and begins the next repetition. The results of usability testing with 10 participants support the feasibility of this approach. Further extensions are planned to evaluate a complete exercise program for improving older adults' physical range of motion in a controlled experiment with three conditions: a personal trainer robot, a personal trainer on-screen character, and a pencil-and-paper exercise plan.