It has been some time since the last post. This does certainly not mean we didn’t do anything. We conducted several experiments in the meanwhile, in fact, we had a Summer Camp in Italy and a fall Camp in the Netherlands. Lots has been done to make a better working integrated system.
Results of the first evaluation cycle showed that there were many improvement points, both in integrated architecture as in usability. Some of these were known, others came up because we had a month long experiment with around a 30 participants. The results show that working with the system for an extended period elicits different and more requirements than just a short read aloud protocol while working with it. Also the parents gave great inputs about MyPAL app and all of them were very happy to participated to the experiments, sharing this experience with their sons. We will update this results in another post as soon as possible!
Since the end of the evaluation we have been working hard to improve the integrated system, so the information is transferred correctly between the different modules, the server can accommodate more users at the same time and unexpected behavior is (mostly) eliminated.
The camp weeks provided other insights, the children could do specific PAL activities in order to investigate the usability of the app in terms of its effectiveness, understandability, learnability, operability and satisfaction from the perspective of children aged 10 to 14 years old, and as there were always experimenters around we could observe them well. An advantage of being for multiple days with the children is that we, as researchers, get a much better grasp of what dealing with diabetes entails. How often do they measure, what are all factors that influence the glucose levels, how different children react on hypers and hypos, how big the individual differences are and so much more. But mostly, that they are just kids that really enjoy a week without explaining things about diabetes to others.
A very interesting result from the camps showed that the bond seemed to be transferable from robot to avatar, when they were perceived as similar. The bond with the robot is (almost) always greater than the bond with the avatar, but these results show we can get them similar when they are more connected than is now the case. This results in requirements for both the robot and the avatar to discuss the same topics, remember the same things and behave in the same manner during similar activities.
Videos and press coverage
The PAL project and evaluation has resulted in quite some press coverage of which an overview can be found in a blog post we wrote for the EU. Next to this we are also documenting our efforts with videos. For an update please subscribe to our youtube channel . We are really grateful for the participation of all the children in these videos and press articles as this really adds to the feeling the videos and photos transfer.