Numerous studies have reported social robot applications for children including both typical and special education. Similar applications for the elderly are underplayed. However, children grow to adults and, ultimately, to elderly. This preliminary work, based on our expertise with social robot NAO in special education applications for children, reports an approach for engaging social robots for elderly with Alzheimer’s disease. In particular, a social robot, equipped with a variety of electronic sensors and supported by suitable mathematical models implemented in software, is engaged as a Cyber Physical System (CPS) with a reasoning capacity toward an interpretable interaction with humans. Following confirmation of eligibility and informed consent for elderly with Alzheimer’s disease, two sets of interventions have been designed as follows. In the first set, the participants are randomly partitioned in two groups: a) the “treatment group”, where the intervention will be delivered by the humanoid robot Pepper with the support of a special education teacher, and b) the “control group”, where the intervention will be delivered by a special education teacher exclusively. Furthermore, since a social robot can be employed as a companion to the elderly, in the second set, the participants are randomly partitioned in two groups: a) the “treatment group”, where a person with cognitive problems will be accompanied by the humanoid robot Pepper and b) the “control group”, where a person with cognitive impairment will not be accompanied. In both sets of interventions, all participants will be examined with an extended neuropsychological examination pre- and post- intervention.
M. Tsolaki, V. G. Kaburlasos, C. Lytridis, C. Bazinas, G. Siavalas, “Social robots for pedagogical rehabilitation in special education for the elderly”, 2nd Edition of Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications 2022 (V-RITA2022), Theme “Modification of Lifestyle by Innovation in Robot Intelligence Technology and Applications”, 21-22 October 2022.