Fachgruppentreffen Technik 2022

Organizers: Susanne Brucksch (Teikyō University, Tokyo), Cosima Wagner (Freie Universität Berlin) with kind support from Naonori Kodate (UCD Centre for Japanese Studies, University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland)

Incentive Talk: Needs-driven engineering research and development: Experiences in my laboratory at Chiba University (Wenwei Yu, Center for Frontier Medical Engineering and Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Chiba University)

Needs-driven and interdisciplinary R&D has been recognized as an effective approach to address urgent problems in this rapidly changing world. The user-acceptable goal-oriented nature of needs-driven R&D can not only keep the participants highly motivated, but also promptly provide feedbacks from actual use scenarios. In most cases, resources, knowledge, and skills are shared to create, develop, fine-tune, and then validate technologies for efficiently fulfilling the needs. This presentation shared the speaker’s lessons learnt from the experiences medical-engineering and nursing-engineering collaboration in the needs driven R&D. Specific focus was placed on the following critical factors: the actual needs from the majority of users and potential market, sufficient technology potential, and available resources. The consideration in sustaining needs-driven and interdisciplinary R&D from the viewpoint of an engineering lab was also be outlined.

“Dejitaru-ka no kabe?” Media analysis on ICT, robot technology and older adults during the pandemic (Isabelle Prochaska-Meyer, University of Vienna)

The COVID-19 pandemic has strengthened the digital infrastructure on various levels and contributed to the acceleration of the so-called digital transformation. The speaker’s interest lies in the way older adults have been discussed in newspaper articles during the pandemic, particularly in the context of technology and digitalization. How has information and communication technology (ICT) contributed to the social life of seniors, and how are they portrayed? What kind of initiatives are reported to minimize the digital gap, and in how far are seniors themselves taking part in the media discourse? She analyzed articles of the Asahi Shimbun newspaper in the period March 2020-May 2022 and presented the most common themes regarding older adults and technology.

Can robots care for us? Visions of technocare from the UK and Japan (Giulia De Togni, University of Edinburgh)

Robotics is a growing field in the delivery of care, expected to flourish in the face of the need for higher precision, shortages of healthcare personnel, and an increase in the number of older and frailer people. «Socially Assistive Robots» (SARs) have the potential to ‹care› for humans through social interaction, physical assistance, and therapy delivery. However, the emergence of ‹caring machines› raises ethical, social, and technological questions. Through this research Guilia De Togni aims to understand in what ways our identities and care relationships may be affected by the use of SARs and how this may vary in different cultural contexts. She will do so through carrying out interviews with those who are developing robots, health and social care practitioners, and those receiving care; and observations in robotics laboratories and care facilities in two rapidly ageing, highly industrialised countries which are leading in AI and robotics innovation, the UK and Japan.

Scenarios to support nursing home residents: Needs analysis & evaluation with the humanoid service robot GARMI, Project KoBo34 (Eva Theresa Jahn, Technical University Munich, Germany)

What support do older people need in their everyday lives and how can this be implemented in a meaningful and acceptable way with the help of technology? We asked ourselves this question in the KoBo34 project (2018-2022), a multidisciplinary consortium of technology, care, psychology, and social sciences. In interviews with people in need of care, their relatives, care staff, and seniors living at home, we analyzed where needs exist and for which ones a service robot can be used. As a result, three support scenarios were developed, which we tested with all the stakeholders mentioned. In this presentation, the speaker summarized the project’s approach as well as the results with suggestions for further possible applications of the robot GARMI.

User representations generated by robot providers (Yuko Tamaki-Welply, EHESS)

This presentation shared preliminary findings from a case study in Japan on how social robot providers envision the use of social robots. First, the importance of studying social robots and their use in long-term care facilities will be discussed from various perspectives. Following that, the speaker discussed a type of social robot that has recently been introduced in Japanese nursing homes. It is a non-human, nonverbal communication robot among social robots. The intended user of this robot was then identified. Finally, this user representation was be discussed in greater depth in relation to its actual use and non-use in a care facility.