User-driven Innovation in Health- & Elderly Care in Japan

Cosentino, Sarah; Ishiguro, Nobu GND

Japan is enthusiastic about developing and applying innovative technology in the context of health- and elderly care. Research and development in care robotics, sensor technology (mimamori sensā), or ICT applications are widely promoted by the government. Despite these manifold efforts and activities, many devices fall short of meeting the needs expressed by users. Therefore, this DIJ Forum raises the question, what is necessary to fulfil user’s needs in healthcare? What needs to be done to improve user acceptance and usability of technology regarding innovation in health- and elderly care? Our two speakers are best suited to discuss these questions from a cross-disciplinary perspective: Professor Cosentino is specialised in material science, humanoid robots, and patient rehabilitation, as well as sensor system development for elderly people. She will reflect on the challenges to enable user participation by drawing on insights from two research projects: one is the engineering of social robots at Takanishi Laboratory at Waseda University. The other is a collaboration with the University of Siegen on Active and Healthy Ageing by employing communication robots like Pepper in elderly care. On the other hand, Professor Ishiguro will discuss from the angle of social policy and healthcare by illuminating the discrepancy between user expectation, practicality and device acceptance. In addition, she will present data from a comparative analysis on participatory governance regarding elderly care policies in Denmark and Japan. Thus, this forum provides a valuable opportunity for discussing what is necessary for well-integrated innovation for good healthcare practice.