Robot Exercise Trainer : Intended for Treating Dementia
Abstract: Worldwide, about 35.7 million people were estimated to be affected by dementia in 2010. One way to treat dementia is by exercising, but human trainers are few and expensive. Robots can be mass produced and work at anytime of the day. This report describes research done for developing a robot exercise coach intended for treating dementia. Three main problems for people with dementia were identified: memory, attention and motivation. By using computer vision the robot can help count repetitions, grade exercise correctness and make sure that the user is still paying attention. The Kinect was used for skeleton tracking to count repetitions and provide video. For motivation, motivational models and flow theory were used to design the users interaction with the robot and make it more enjoyable and engaging. Feedback was believed to be an important part of this interaction. To provide extra feedback skeleton tracking was turned into the robot mimicking the user. To test which combination of feedback and interaction was most enjoyable, a user study was done. The user study consisted of 11 subjects, each interacting with three different systems, each system with varying levels of feedback. After interacting, the subject filled out a survey and had an interview. The results from the user study showed evidence that repetition counting and exercise correctness feedback but no mimicking is the most enjoyable. With a statistically significant difference in regards to repetition counting at the 0.05 level. Younger people found the mimicking enjoyable but still preferred the system without it, and older people found it confusing. In future systems like this, repetition counting and exercise correctness feedback should be seen as important parts of the interaction.
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