Toward a Desirable Relationship of Artificial Objects and the Elderly: From the Standpoint of Engineer and Psychologist Dialogue

  • Kotaro Matsumoto
  • Goro Obinata
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4541)


In this paper a psychologist discusses the desirable relationship between the elderly and Artificial Objects based on some questions raised by an engineering researcher. Concretely, the paper discusses the differences between Objects, Machines, and Artificial Objects. Through this, it reveals the characteristic of Artificial Objects and presents the following four points that can be potentially problematic with respect to the relationship between such objects and the elderly. Moreover, these points should also be kept in mind by engineering researchers when developing Artificial Objects. 1) Artificial objects move autonomously, and therefore users can not take the role of initiator. That is, people must accommodate to artificial objects. 2) Artificial objects still only have a limited learning ability for creating relationships with their users, including the understanding of contexts and a shared history not unlike that between people. 3) Even with increased leaning ability as a result of increased efficacy and expanded operating capacity, which in turn leads to the creation of better relationships between artificial objects and persons, there are limitations to such relationships. 4) There is a need to point out the problem of initially focusing too heavily on the functions that artificial objects should have. Especially for the elderly, engineers should take time to consider the relationships of dependency that the objects they design will gradually foster over time.


Artificial Objects The elderly Psychologist  Difference 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bernstein, N.A.: On Dexterity and Its Development. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, NJ (1996)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Erikson, J., Mataric, M.J., Winstein, C.J.: Hand-off Assistive Robotics for Post-Stroke Arm Rehabilitation. In: Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE/ 9h International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics. Chicago (2005),
  3. 3.
    Johnson, M.H., Motion, J.: Biology and Cognitive Development: The Case of Face Recognition. Blackwell, US (1991)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Rowles, G.D., Oswald, F., Hunter, E.G.: Interior Living Environments in Old Age. In: Wahl, H.W., Scheidt, R.J. (eds.) Annual Review of gerontology and geriatrics, vol. 23, pp. 167–194. Springer, NY (2003)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Rubinstein, R.L.: The Significance of Personal Objects to Older People. Journal of Aging Studies 1(3), 225–238 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Russell, S., Norvig, P.: Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. Prentice-Hall, NJ (1995)zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Sherman, E., Newman, E.S.: The Meaning of Cherished Personal Possessions for the Elderly. INT’L Journal of Aging and Human Development 8(2), 181–192 (1977)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Sherman, E.: Reminiscentia: Cherished Objects as Memorabilia in Late-Life Reminiscence. INT’L Journal of Aging and Human Development 33(2), 89–100 (1991)MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sherman, E., Dacher, J.: Cherished Objects and the Home: Their Meaning and Roles in Late Life. In: Rowles, G.D., Chaudhury, H. (eds.) Home and Identity in Late Life, pp. 63–79. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wapner, S., Demick, J., Redondo, J.P.: Cherished Possessions and Adaptation of Older People to Nursing Home. INT’L Journal of Aging and Human Development 31(3), 219–235 (1990)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Winnicott, D.W.: Playing and reality. Harmondsworth, Penguin (1974)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kotaro Matsumoto
    • 1
  • Goro Obinata
    • 1
  1. 1.EcoTopia Science Institute, Nagoya Univ., Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya-cityJapan

Personalised recommendations