The three intermediate evaluations allowed the identification of several arguments explaining the good acceptability observed of the SPRING robot in the hospital context. The lack of staff appears to be a major driving force behind the use of socially assistive robots in hospitals. User feedback showed that the robot’s usefulness could go beyond information and entertainment which, in itself, was considered a very useful use case if the robot shares clear and accurate information.
The robot could assist disabled people to walk or bedridden patients who need help, or who do not wish to “disturb” health professionals for a minor request, such as bringing a glass of water or the TV remote control, for example. In this sense, the robot could help counteract the discomfort of disturbing the staff, and be useful for small tasks. Some participants mentioned that the robot could be useful for maintaining the dignity of the patients. For example, one participant said that in case he would be disabled and bedridden, he would be more comfortable and less embarrassed with a robot doing the changing of diapers than with an aid nurse. These statements are perfectly aligned with the observed quantitative results from the acceptability e-scale as the perceived usefulness was one of the highest scoring items in every wave of evaluation.