Project Name: Social Engagement with Robots and Agents

Abbreviation: SERA

Start date: January 1, 2009

End date: December 31, 2010

Project Description:

Getting people to engage with robotic and virtual artifacts is easy, but keeping them engaged over time is hard: robots and agents lack some fundamental capabilities which can be summarized as sociability. Sociability involves perceptiveness of and responsiveness to individuals' and groups' needs, moods, habits, situations, cultural background, social norms and conventions. The research community has realized the problem, but approaches, so far, have been dispersed and disjoint. If robots and agents are to become companions in people’s lives, with assistive, coaching, monitoring, or educational roles, they will have to blend into these lives seamlessly.

SERA is innovative in that it addresses sociability holistically, by advancing knowledge about what sociability in robots and agents entails, by developing methodology to analyze and evaluate it, and by making available research resoures and platforms. SERA will, to this purpose, undertake reallife extended field studies of users’ engagement with robotic devices. Sociablity has also to be built into robot and agent architectures from scratch. The goal here is to research and to implement an architecture that caters for both background (cultural, normative etc.) and situational individual (theory of mind, adaptivity, responsiveness) practices and needs of users, with the guiding principle of pervasive affectivity. Assistive robots and agents who are to become true companions, e.g. for elderly or homebound people, have to be versatile in functionality and identity (style, personality) depending on the service they are required to deliver, such as (reactive) social mediators, as (in turn reactive and proactive) information assistants, or as (proactive) coaches or monitors e.g. with health-related tasks. SERA will develop pilots of such intertwined interactive service applications for a robotic device.


The following HMI-member(s) is/are coordinator of this Project

Dirk Heylen



Here you can find the publications




The following ShowCases are associated with this Project



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