Telepresence Robots for People with Special Needs: A Systematic Review

Guangtao Zhang*, John Paulin Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Telepresence robots are increasingly used to support remote social interaction. Telerobots allow the user to move a camera and a microphone at a remote location in real time–often with a display of the user’s face at the robot. These robots can increase the quality of life for people with special needs, who are, for instance, bed bound. However, interface accessibility barriers have made them difficult to use for some people. Still, no state-of-the-art literature review has been made of research on telerobots for people with disabilities. We used Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines for a review. Web of Science (WoS), ACM Digital Library, IEEE Xplore, PubMed, and Scopus were searched, and a supplemental by hand examination of reference lists was done. The search includes studies published between 2009 and 2019. A total of 871 articles were included in this review, 42 of which were eligible for the analysis. These articles were further characterized in terms of problems addressed, objectives, types of special needs considered, features of the devices, features of solutions, and the evaluation methods applied. Based on the review, future research directions are being proposed, addressing issues like use-cases; user conditions; universal accessibility; safety; privacy and security; independence and autonomy; evaluation methods; and user training programs. The review provides an overview of existing research, a summary of common research directions, and a summary of issues, which need to be considered in future research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)1651-1667
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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