CORDIS - EU research results

Culture Aware Robots and Environmental Sensor Systems for Elderly Support

Project description

Robots that are sensitive to the needs of senior citizens

Nursing literature delves deep into the importance of cultural competence in elderly care. However, the field of robotics completely overlooks the significance of culturally appropriate behaviour. The EU-funded CARESSES project aims to address this gap by developing care robots that possess cultural competence. These robots will have the ability to autonomously adapt their actions and speech to align with the culture, customs and etiquette of the individuals they assist. This project seeks to create robots that are more attuned to the specific needs of users, offering a safe, reliable and intuitive system to promote independence and autonomy among elderly clients. This innovative solution promises to enhance quality of life, alleviate caregiver burden, and enhance overall efficiency and effectiveness.


The groundbreaking objective of CARESSES is to build culturally competent care robots, able to autonomously re-configure their way of acting and speaking, when offering a service, to match the culture, customs and etiquette of the person they are assisting. By designing robots that are more sensitive to the user’s needs, CARESSES’ innovative solution will offer elderly clients a safe, reliable and intuitive system to foster their independence and autonomy, with a greater impact on quality of life, a reduced caregiver burden, and an improved efficiency and efficacy.

The need for cultural competence has been deeply investigated in the Nursing literature. However, it has been totally neglected in Robotics. CARESSES stems from the consideration that cultural competence is crucial for care robots as it is for human caregivers. From the user’s perspective, a culturally appropriate behavior is key to improve acceptability; from the commercial perspective, it will open new avenues for marketing robots across different countries.

CARESSES will adopt the following approach. First, we will study how to represent cultural models, how to use these models in sensing, planning and acting, and how to acquire them. Second, we will consider three (physically identical) replicas of a commercial robot on the market and integrate cultural models into them, by making them culturally competent. Third, we will test the three robots, customized for three different cultures, in the EU (two cultural groups) and Japan (one cultural group), on a number of elderly volunteers and their informal caregivers. Evaluation will be conducted through quantitative and qualitative investigation.

To achieve its groundbreaking objective, CARESSES will involve a multidisciplinary team of EU and Japanese researchers with a background in Transcultural Nursing, AI, Robotics, Testing and evaluations of health-care technology, a worldwide leading company in Robotics and a network of Nursing care homes.

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Net EU contribution
€ 548 875,00
16126 Genova

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Nord-Ovest Liguria Genova
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 548 875,00

Participants (5)