Future of Work in Home Healthcare Robotics State of Technology Workshop

March 16th, 9AM-11AM

We invite those interested in the Future of Work, Home Healthcare, or Robotics to join us for this small workshop as we begin to catalog efforts across Georgia Tech in these and adjacent fields. We will ask each attendee (or lab) to create a one slide presentation of their current work and ongoing projects so that we can all learn about ways in which we might be able to align and engage with each other. Content from the event will be documented and distributed among participants. This event is sponsored by an IPaT / IRIM seed grant focused on bringing together teams to pursue transdisciplinary research and funding.


The widespread belief that home digital health technologies and services are effective in delivering healthcare, is at odds with the reported high rate of non-use [1, 4, 5, 9]. This is due in part to the lack of awareness with, and usability of, assistive technology (AT) and services [7]. While the Assistive Technology AT Act of 2004 recognizes that effectiveness of AT is dependent on both the availability and the provision of AT (Assistive Technology Act of 2004, Pub. L. 108–364, 29 U.S.C. § 3001 et seq.), translating this into practice has proven more difficult. For example, one use case -- home healthcare robotics research in human robot interaction -- is focused on expert technician setup and repair [2, 6, 8], but overlooks the needs of end-users, and how they interact with the home healthcare technology. We posit that the case of AT is generalizable to all home healthcare and wellness technology, especially as the technology becomes more complicated and advanced. Appropriately designed for usability, home healthcare technology HHT (including robots) provision, including prescription, adjustment, and hands-on training in HHT use, should have a significant impact on individuals’ ability to integrate new HHT in their daily lives. 

In the example use case, home healthcare robots, accessible and usable, interfaces are needed to enhance adoption and use by medical doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, family members, and even architects of future assisted living centers [3]. It is also important for interactions with the robots, to be accessible for both the consumer end users, and all other who engage with the robot [10]. Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) could also provide robust interactive environments as well as new kinds of interfaces for information transfer between healthcare professionals and robots situated in the home. 


The upcoming two-hour workshop will be a chance for those across Georgia Tech to present their current work and collaborators in the areas of FOW and Home Healthcare Robotics. We hope to begin the process of documenting FOW initiatives across campus and help facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations. Upon registering for the workshop (via email to kala.jordan@gatech.edu) we will ask you to create a slide introducing yourself and your work or interest in FOW or Home Healthcare Robotics. We will spend the first hour with introductions and the second hour discussing possible collaborations and next steps. This workshop is the start of a process to foster interdisciplinary collaboration in the area of FOW and a way for the Georgia Tech community to work together to secure funding and support ongoing work and larger proposals.

[1]    Anderson, W.L. and Wiener, J.M. 2015. The impact of assistive technologies on formal and informal home care. Gerontologist. 55, 3 (2015), 422–433. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnt165.
[2]    Chen, L., Paleja, R. and Gombolay, M. 2021. Towards Sample-efficient Apprenticeship Learning from Suboptimal Demonstration. (2021).
[3]    Denker, A.H. and Baker, P.M.A. 2020. Digital Tech for Inclusive Aging: Usability, Design and Policy. Journal on Technology and Persons with Disabilities Santiago, J. (2020).
[4]    Federici, S., Meloni, F. and Borsci, S. 2016. The Abandonment of Assistive Technology in Italy: A Survey of Users of the National Health Service. European journal of physical and rehabilitation medicine. 52, 4 (2016), 516–526.
[5]    Gramstad, A., Storli, S.L. and Hamran, T. 2014. Older individuals’ experiences during the assistive technology device service delivery process. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy. 21, 4 (2014), 305–312. DOI:https://doi.org/10.3109/11038128.2013.877070.
[6]    Hedlund, E., Johnson, M. and Gombolay, M. 2021. The efects of a robot’s performance on human teachers for learning from demonstration tasks. ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction. (2021), 207–215. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3434073.3444664.
[7]    Moon, N.W., Baker, P.M. and Goughnour, K. 2019. Designing wearable technologies for users with disabilities: Accessibility, usability, and connectivity factors. Journal of Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies Engineering. 6, (2019), 205566831986213. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/2055668319862137.
[8]    Paleja, R., Ghuy, M., Arachchige, N.R., Jensen, R. and Gombolay, M. 2021. The Utility of Explainable AI in Ad Hoc Human-Machine Teaming. NeurIPS (2021), 1–14.
[9]    Wessels, R., Dijcks, B., Soede, M., Gelderblom, G.J. and De Witte, L. 2003. Non-use of provided assistive technology devices, a literature overview. Technology and disability. 15, 4 (2003), 231–238.
[10]    Zeagler, C., Gandy, M. and Baker, P.M.A. 2018. The Assistive Wearable: Inclusive by Design. Assistive Technology Outcomes & Benefits (ATOB). 12, Summer 2018 (2018), 11–36.