The independence of people who need help with daily activities will become of vital importance to all societies in the future. This paper addresses the problem of controlling the assistive home environment and emphasizes human-friendly human-machine interactions in an approach designed to achieve independence. To provide residents with an accessible, convenient, and cost-effective environment for independent living, we introduce a new service robot, categorized as a steward robot, as an intermediate agent between residents and their complex smart house environment. The learning capability and emotional interaction of the robot can make it more human-friendly in various tasks. A learning system enables the robot to provide customized services by accumulating knowledge of the user's behavioral patterns in daily activities. An emotional interaction system generates facial expressions to communicate with the user in a human-friendly manner. We have developed two types of a steward robot: a software type, which can be used everywhere via personal computing devices such as a PDA and a cellular phone, and a hardware type, which provides tangible services with physical interaction via two robotic arms and a mobile base. Note to Practitioners-The trend of an aging population and of a non-decreasing proportion of people with disabilities could lead to a shortage of caregivers, which will become a serious problem in the near future. To assist the elderly and people with disabilities, a smart house can be a solution for improving quality-of-life and coping with their demands. However, the increase in the number and complexity of assistive systems to enhance available services in a smart house could lead to a decrease in convenience accessibility, and cost-effectiveness, because it is very difficult to control all the devices using a large number of corresponding human-machine interfaces. To resolve this problem, this paper introduces the concept of a steward robot that helps the user in the smart house environment to operate all the systems easily. The steward robot can reduce the user's cognitive load during operation because it commands and controls all subsystems in lieu of the user and provides proactive services based on the user's behavioral patterns.