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Socially Pertinent Robots in Gerontological Healthcare

Project description

Robots to improve life in old age

The development of robotics results in great benefits for a wide range of daily needs. As a consequence, the use of technologically advanced robots today is a reality, although of limited use. Today’s robots lack significant characteristics that would allow them to participate in multi-party situated conversations. The EU-funded SPRING project will design and develop a technology that addresses this specific demand. It will work on the robot's perception capabilities that are key for reliable performance and on taking the appropriate actions regarding the ongoing social interplay. The project will validate the technology in a day-care hospital for the elderly testing the robot’s performance in providing meaningful social interactions to these people in between medical appointments.


Social robots in an environment populated with humans is a technological horizon that is simultaneously so close and so far. Indeed, even if there are a number of companion robots in the market, the social skills of these robots are extremely limited and overcoming these limitations raises many scientific, technological, social and methodological challenges. We aim to develop the technology enabling robotic platforms to be involved in multi-party situated conversations. On one side, this requires perception capabilities that provide robustness against visual occlusions, speaker overlap, noise, interferences and clutter. On the other side, situated conversations requires the robot to take the appropriate actions, regarding the environment and the behavior of the people in it. We will validate the proposed technology in healthcare applicative scenarios, and in particular in a day hospital for elderly people. In this context, the goal of the robotic platform could be to reduce the patient’s stress and ease the waiting, to attend patients and accompany them to the next scheduled medical appointment, or to signal demands and anomalies to the medical personnel.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 1 522 275,00
Domaine de voluceau rocquencourt
78153 Le chesnay cedex

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Yvelines
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (7)