Abstract—There has been a tremendous increase in the costs of caring for older adults owing to the fact that societies are aging around around the world. This has led to a decrease in the number of caregivers who are able to assist. Investigative studies indicate that older adults require social as well as physical support for their well-being which prompted researchers to use social and cognitive robots and advanced human machine interaction devices. However, most of these studies have shortcomings when it comes to providing means of a natural interaction with the machine. With speech being the most natural way for human communication and the huge developments in the Internet of Things and smart homes, equipping a robotic system with powerful natural speech interaction capabilities to maintain a conversation with an elderly while being linked to other smart home devices shows a promising direction. This paper describes a scalable and expandable system with main goal of designing a natural speech-enabled system for older adults that is capable of linking to multiple active agents with minimal integration efforts. The system makes use of the power of commercially available digital assistant systems, integrated with an intelligent conversational agent, robotics, and smart wearables. The main advantage of the system is that it could provide a portion of the population, namely older adults and the disabled, the flexibility of interacting naturally with powerful social robots in smart home environments, hence providing them with much needed independence.
Index Terms—Social robots, Human-Robot Interaction, Elderly care, Artificial Intelligence, Speech Interaction, Ambient Assisted Living