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.

Technology sucks!

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

A lot of sewing. A lot of Javascript in the browser in combination with HTML5. We integrate the mobile phone within the robot. The punches we register by reading out the accelerometer data in the browser.

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

For example, we've set up the entire system for node-red, bluemix, speech synthesis, etc. However, after that we found out that speech synthesis is possible with a few lines of Javascript. Morever, speech recognition is even baked in in HTML5, see the dev site at Mozilla!

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.

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