Elderly always have to be "social" and "acceptable". And robots should be "helping" and "taking care".
In practice robots are worthless and introduce just another potential technical hurdle that separates elderly from the rest of the world.
That's why we created the Frustybot
What it does
The Frustybot can be punched in the ugly face. It has the shape of a ball and technology inside that tells an elderly person to hit harder, tells jokes, and tries to be a smart-ass.
With hitting it we hope that elderly can get rid of all their frustrations about technology.
If people hit it often enough a helpdesk is called.
How we built it
Thinking of things to say was super fun!
Challenges we ran into
Automatically starting a skype conversation is not possible on mobile. We hence had to change tactics and use WebRTC. The latter always sucks but in the end we found a way in which it is automatically opening up the microphone (use httpS) on a particular type of Android device.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We have something to punch!!!!
What we learned
What's next for Frustybot
We hope that a lot of frusty bots will become available to elderly where they're also allowed to be human, grumpy at times, scared of technology, frustrated, and in general in which it is okay to be uncertain about things in the modern world.