Robot-Delivered Cognitive Stimulation Games for Older Adults: Usability and Acceptability Evaluation

Norina Gasteiger, Ho Seok Ahn, Chiara Gasteiger, Christopher Lee, Jongyoon Lim, Christine Fok, Bruce A. MacDonald, Geon Ha Kim, Elizabeth Broadbent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Cognitive stimulation games delivered on robots may be able to improve cognitive functioning and delay decline in older adults. However, little is known about older adults' in-depth opinions of robot-delivered games, as current research primarily focuses on technical development and one-off use. This article explores the usability, acceptability, and perceptions of community-dwelling older adults towards cognitive games delivered on a robot that incorporated movable interactive blocks. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants at the end of a 12-week cognitive stimulation games intervention delivered entirely on robots. Participants were 10 older adults purposively sampled from two retirement villages. A framework analysis approach was used to code data to predefined themes related to technology acceptance (perceived benefits, satisfaction, and preference), and usability (effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction). Results indicated that cognitive games delivered on a robot may be a valuable addition to existing cognitive stimulation activities. The robot was considered easy to use and useful in improving cognitive functioning. Future developments should incorporate interactive gaming tools, the use of social anthropomorphic robots, contrasting colour schemes to accommodate macular degeneration, and cultural-specific imagery and language. This will help cater to the preferences and age-related health needs of older adults, to ultimately enhance usability and acceptability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3451882
JournalACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest. The University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee approved this study in October 2019 (Reference: 023830). N. Gasteiger contributed to the study design, data collection, analysis, and writing the paper. C. Gasteiger contributed to data analysis and writing the paper. H. S. Ahn, J. Lim, and C. Lee contributed to programming the robot. E. Broadbent, H. S. Ahn, and B. A. Macdonald contributed to the study design, acquiring funding and editing the draft. G. H. Kim contributed to obtaining funding. C. Fok contributed to data collection. This work is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Centre for Automation and Robotic Engineering Sciences, the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and Ewha Womans University, South Korea. The project was supported by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE, Korea) under the Industrial Technology Innovation Program (reference number 5000667). Funders played no role in data collection, interpretation, or reporting. Authors’ addresses: N. Gasteiger and C. Fok, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Building 507, 28 Park Avenue, Grafton, 1023, Auckland, New Zealand; emails:,; H. S. Ahn, C. Lee, J. Lim, and B. A. MacDonald, Department of Electrical, Computer and Software Engineering, The University of Auckland, Building 405, 3 Grafton Road, 1010, Auckland, New Zealand; emails:,,,; C. Gasteiger and E. Broadbent (corresponding author), Department of Psychological Medicine, The University of Auckland, Building 507, 28 Park Avenue, Grafton, 1023, Auckland, New Zealand; emails:,; G. H. Kim, Department of Neurology, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, Ewha Womans University, College of Medicine, 1071 Anyangcheon-ro, Yangcheon-gu, Seoul, South Korea; email: Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. Copyrights for components of this work owned by others than the author(s) must be honored. Abstracting with credit is permitted. To copy otherwise, or republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee. Request permissions from © 2021 Copyright held by the owner/author(s). Publication rights licensed to ACM. 2573-9522/2021/07-ART33

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.


  • Human-robot interaction
  • cognitive robots
  • cognitive stimulation
  • gerontechnology
  • interactive games
  • technology acceptance
  • user perspective


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