IJBHTM 2017 Volume 7 Issue 1

International Journal of BioSciences, Healthcare Technology and Management (IJBHTM) ISSN: 0975-3893

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A Framework for Avoiding Uncanny Valley in Healthcare. Iroju Olaronke, Ikono Rhoda, Olaleke Janet. IJBHTM (2017), 7(1):1-10




A Framework for Avoiding Uncanny Valley in Healthcare

Authors & Affiliation:

Iroju Olaronke1, Ikono Rhoda2, Olaleke Janet3

1, 3 Department of Computer Science, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Nigeria

2 Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

irojuolaronke@gmail.com, irojuog@aceondo.edu.ng, rhoda_u@yahoo.com, shollyjane@yahoo.com


The advancement in robotics has led to the increase in the demand for robots in healthcare for surgical procedures, rehabilitation, therapy, sanitation, sterilization and material handling. Hence, robots are used in the healthcare system to increase the safety of both patients and healthcare professionals, enhance clinical outcomes, reduce the cost of healthcare services and create a sense of stability and calmness for the sick and the aged. Robots are designed in various sizes and shapes to accomplish a particular task. For instance, some healthcare robots are designed to possess the overall appearance of a human body, imitate human intelligence, emotional responses, behavior as well as maneuverability. These types of robots are referred to as humanoid robots. The human-like appearances of humanoid robots facilitate the natural interaction between them and humans. However, when humanoid robots appear almost like human beings and there is a disparity between their behavior and their appearances, a feeling of repulsion is created amongst its users. This situation is referred to as uncanny valley which is usually viewed as a threat to the uniqueness exhibited by human beings. Consequently, the social acceptance of humanoid robots within the context of healthcare becomes a challenge because the effective interaction between humans and such robots is hindered. This results in a decline in the quality of health services that are rendered by humanoids robots. Hence, this study takes a critical examination at humanoid robots used in healthcare, the concept of uncanny valley as well as the hypothesis of uncanny valley. The study also appraises the effects of uncanny valley in relation to the healthcare system and designs a framework for avoiding the uncanny valley in healthcare during the design of humanoid robots.

Keywords: anthropomorphism, healthcare, humanoid robot, uncanny valley