Social robots serve people and society
Faculty of Social Sciences, VU University
Can a robot help elderly people feel less lonely? Or can it help children with their arithmetic? Researchers at the departments of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Computer Sciences at VU University and the VU Medical Centre are working together to turn the above challenges into reality. They also strive to publicise these projects so as to encourage public debate on the use of robots to tackle social problems.
A well-received documentary, I am Alice (2015), has been produced about the robot “Alice” who helps elderly people avoid becoming socially isolated. The researchers also often appear in the media, in public debates, and at team science events. Next spring, a unique field study will start in which elderly people will interact for a few weeks with a social robot. Measurements will be taken before, during, and after the sessions, including retrospective in-depth interviews.
The grant from the Rewarded! Fund will help finance a student assistant, who will assist in documenting and disseminating current robot research. The hope is also that this will lead to another excellent documentary.
Elly A. Konijn, full professor
Other group members:
Daniel Preciado, postdoc
Thomas Baier, postdoc
Piek Vossen, full professor
Johan Hoorn, full professor
Matthijs Smakman, promovendus
Selene Baez Santamaria, promovendus
Lena Krause, promovendus
Veerle Hobbelink, research assistent
Jaap Kruijt, promovendus
Anouk van Loon, postdoc
Martin Smalbrugge, asisstant professor
Marly Kiewik, senior manager