Mobile Telepresence Robot as a New Service to Remotely Supervise Older Adults' Physical Activity: Effectiveness, Acceptance, and Perception

  • Mascret Nicolas
  • Vors Olivier
  • Temprado Jean-Jacques

  • Elderly
  • Physical activity
  • Technology acceptance model
  • Health


While the benefits of physical activity are well known, many older adults do not have any physical activity because they do not have access to adapted physical activity (APA) structures and teachers. The use of a telepresence to remotely supervise older adults’ physical activity may be a suitable solution to break with lack of physical inactivity of older adults. The aim of the present study was to investigate effectiveness, acceptance, and perception of a mobile telepresence robot (MTR) that is remotely controlled by an APA teacher. Forty older adults (70.7 ± 4.3 years, 21 women, 19 men) were randomly divided in two groups of 20 participants who took part in a single individual learning session of a cognitive-motor task either conducted face-to-face with an APA teacher or with the same APA teacher using the MTR. Task performance, acceptance of the MTR, and perception of the APA teacher were assessed with quantitative and qualitative measures. The results showed that using MTR was as effective as a face-to-face intervention to help older adults learning a cognitive-motor task during a single session. The MTR was well-accepted by older adults and the APA teacher using the MTR was perceived warm, competent, adaptive, and sociable. The participants forgot that they were talking to a robot and they clearly put forward the added values of the MTR, especially its specific functionalities that does not exist in other types of devices such as static videoconference. APA sessions supervised by qualified teachers using the MTR may be implemented for isolated older adults who do not benefit from the services dedicated to supervised physical activity.