We are studying how small and low-cost socially assistive robots can encourage frequent computer users to take breaks and be more active during the workday.
As computer use becomes more central to work in many fields, office workers face increased risks of health challenges including heart disease, diabetes, and eyestrain due to prolonged periods of sitting and looking at a screen without taking a break. These individuals can benefit from taking breaks, standing up, and moving around, but there is no universally effective method for encouraging these behaviors in the workplace.
We propose socially assistive robots as a means to deliver successful prompts for computer users to take breaks, stand up, and be more active during the workday. Past work suggests the physical embodiment of a robot can facilitate more positive responses and adherence to stimuli than onscreen prompts or other non-embodied solutions. Accordingly, we propose to gain an understanding of what behaviors of a social and physically embodied SAR system are most effective for encouraging healthier workplace practices during short- and long-term studies.