Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Report Summary - SOCIALROBOT (SocialRobot)

“Demographic studies show that Europe's population is ageing and the average life expectancy has increased from 55, in 1920, to over 80 years of age, today. With the retiring baby boom generation the number of people aged from 65 to 80 will rise by nearly 40% between 2010 and 2030. These demographic changes pose significant challenges to Europe's society and economy. The Information and communication technologies (ICT) can play an important role in dealing with this problem. ICT can help the older individuals to improve quality of life, stay active and healthier and live independently for longer.” - Communication of the commission to the European parliament COM (2007) 332 (Ageing well in the Information Society).

SocialRobot was a four-year project to support training and career development of researchers (IAPP), which was founded by FP7 People 2011- Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways running from November 2011 until October 2015.
The main objective of the SocialRobot project was to provide an answer to the demographic change challenge, through knowledge transfer and the creation of strategic synergies between the project’s participating academia and industry regarding the development of an integrated Social Robotics system (SocialRobot) for “Ageing Well”.
The work focuses on bringing together the Robotic and Computer Science fields by integrating state of the art Robotic and Virtual Social Care Communities technologies and services to provide solutions to key issues of relevance for improved independent living and quality of life of elderly people and efficiency of care. The key guidelines were the detection of individual needs and requirements related to ageing (e.g. physical mobility limitations or/and cognitive decline), and provision of support through timely involvement of care teams, consisting of different groups of people (family members, neighbours, friends) that collaborate dynamically and virtually; means independently of time and their physical locations; and that the robot was able to navigate indoor and unstructured environments and provide affective and empathetic user-robotic interaction, taking into account the capabilities of and acceptance by elderly users.

Research collaborations among the SocialRobot partners took place in the achievement of the main project’s objectives, which were:
• Analysis and definition of elderly needs and requirements
• Development of a Social Robot Community network (SoCo-net).
• Design and develop the SocialRobot platform.
• Behaviour analysis to adapt social relationships and contexts of the elderly people as they age based.
• Integration and validation of the SocialRobot system.By planning the partners’ research collaborations care has been taken in transferring, in the best possible way, the complementary know how among the partners achieving thus successfully the project’s objectives. The 48 months of project development were performed through 132 man-months of researchers’ mobility (secondments and recruitment). The work was carried through the different work packages (WP).

Within WP1 (End Users Needs Analysis and Requirements Specification) development the consortium analysed and identified monitoring, care & wellness and socialization needs and requirements of the elderly, and extracted the use case scenarios that are going to be exploited by the system and defined the ethical, privacy and legal considerations for the end users. The main objectives addressed by WP2 (System Design and Architecture Definition) were to provide the overall design of the SocialRobot system, the design of the SocialRobot Community network (SoCo-net), the design of the ICT-based, the Robotic platform and socialization services and the design of the security and privacy infrastructure. The main objectives addressed by WP3 (Development of SocialRobot Community network) were developing and testing of the SocialRobot Community network SoCo-net based on the work carried out on WP1 and WP2 and development of Social Robot component regarding behaviour analysis.
The main objectives which had to be addressed by WP4 (Development of SocialRobot Platform) were development and testing of ICT based services: Care & Wellness, Mobility Monitoring, Guidance; Assure that the services will be developed according with the envisioned scenarios of operation and robot's constraints; and development of the Social Robot Platform. The main objective, which was addressed by WP5 (System Integration and validation), was the integration of the different components of the system designed. The main objectives that had to be addressed by WP6 (Dissemination and Exploitation) were to ensure extensive and active spread of project results. Within the WP7 (Project coordination) the overall project coordination was the main goal, which was achieved.

The SocialRobot project would like to highlight four major outcomes of this partnership:
1. The project has promoted knowledge transfer amongst universities and companies from which high quality training was given to several researchers (senior and junior), and some of this researcher exchange has even become permanent, which illustrates the quality of the training given in this Marie Curie action. The following researchers have benefited from the SocialRobot project (in alphabetical order):
a. Christophoros Christophorou (Cyprus)
b. David Portugal (Portugal)
c. Dimosthenis Giorgiadis (Cyprus)
d. Eleni Christodoulou (Cyprus)
e. George Samaras (Cyprus)
f. João Freire (Portugal)
g. Jorge Dias (Portugal)
h. Luis Santos (Portugal)
i. Marios Belk (Cyprus)
j. Panayiotis Andreou (Cyprus)
k. Paulo Alvito (Portugal)
l. Paulo Menezes (Portugal)
m. Pedro Trindade (Portugal)

With a good compromise between nationalities, 6 Cypriot and 7 Portuguese researchers, the success of this project resulted in Pedro Trindade and David Portugal, originally from the University of Coimbra, being currently Citard collaborators and Luis Santos is currently part of the University of Coimbra staff, acting a project Manager for an European H2020 Project, GrowMeUp (GA 643647).

2. The industry partner IDMind has built one customized mobile robotic platform for the project, where its design and functionalities have emerged the user requirement analysis and are deemed suitable for the company to enter the Social Robotics Market. The platform is currently part of the portfolio and an off the shelf product of the company. IDMind is currently supplying eight robots, with the same type of configuration, to the EU GrowMeUp project.

3. The industry partner Citard has developed and improved an ICT product, “Citard Active”, which has one branch currently working at an end-user client from the Netherlands: Zuyderland. Similarly, this solution is already part of the company’s product portfolio.

4. Universities have had an outstanding scientific productivity, which has resulted in several journal and conference publications, open workshops about the expertise of the different partners, which were held for the interested community and collaborations with different institutions from other AAL projects.

With the project conclusion the team believes to have been beyond the project’s initial objectives and managed to cope with the principal project challenges very well. The project success is illustrated by the high scientific productivity and by having an integrated and tested SocialRobot platform. The scientific productivity can be measured through the publications and presentation in international conferences. The integrated SocialRobot platform was already presented at Cyprus national TV, and demonstrated to the AAL community during the AAL Forum 2015 and tested for one week at one invited end-user institution, Zuyderland from the Netherlands.

A new H2020 project, named GrowMeUp (GA 643647) - ( has started on February 2015, which uses the SocialRobot platform and a variant of the SoCo-Net as its core. The synergies coming from the SocialRobot project are carried on in this new project, where UC, UCY and Citard are partners and IDMind is the platform provider, which clearly illustrate the success of the SocialRobot project and its partners.

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