Development issues of healthcare robots: Compassionate communication for older adults with dementia

Tetsuya Tanioka, Tomoya Yokotani, Ryuichi Tanioka, Feni Betriana, Kazuyuki Matsumoto, Rozzano Locsin, Yueren Zhao, Kyoko Osaka, Misao Miyagawa, Savina Schoenhofer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Although progress is being made in affective computing, issues remain in enabling the effective expression of compassionate communication by healthcare robots. Identifying, describing and reconciling these concerns are important in order to provide quality contemporary healthcare for older adults with dementia. The purpose of this case study was to explore the development issues of healthcare robots in expressing compassionate communication for older adults with dementia. An exploratory descriptive case study was conducted with the Pepper robot and older adults with dementia using high-tech digital cameras to document significant communication proceedings that occurred during the activities. Data were collected in December 2020. The application program for an intentional conversation using Pepper was jointly developed by Tanioka’s team and the Xing Company, allowing Pepper’s words and head movements to be remotely controlled. The analysis of the results revealed four development issues, namely, (1) accurate sensing behavior for “listening” to voices appropriately and accurately interacting with subjects; (2) inefficiency in “listening” and “gaze” activities; (3) fidelity of behavioral responses; and (4) deficiency in natural language processing AI development, i.e., the ability to respond actively to situations that were not pre-programmed by the developer. Conversational engagements between the Pepper robot and patients with dementia illustrated a practical usage of technologies with artificial intelligence and natural language processing. The development issues found in this study require reconciliation in order to enhance the potential for healthcare robot engagement in compassionate communication in the care of older adults with dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4538
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 01-05-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Development issues of healthcare robots: Compassionate communication for older adults with dementia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this