Krings, B-J, Weinberger N.  2018.  Assistant without Master? Some Conceptual Implications of Assistive Robotics in Health Care Technologies. 18(1) AbstractWebsite

The subject of “technical assistants” in inpatient care is currently being widely discussed in scientific and public circles. In many cases, though, it has become apparent that the umbrella term “assistive technologies”, also in the context of robotics, is very contrived. Against this background, the authors of this article reflect on the meaning of “assistance” in socio-technical systems, and critically review its relevance. To understand and demonstrate “assistive” functions, it is essential to establish a frame of reference. The re-evaluation of an empirical study of people with dementia in inpatient care has revealed the functional character of technical assistance systems. The results, however, show that the theoretical debate on the social and organisational function of “assistance” in these technical fields is still lacking. Therefore, the reflections in this paper may also provide some starting points for this debate.