Social robotics has advanced so much in the last five years that social robots have been introduced into public spaces such as museums, airports, shopping malls, banks, company showrooms, hospitals, retirement homes… to name but a few examples. These robotic platforms, besides executing their classical robotic skills, such as navigation, grasping and manipulating objects, need to be able to communicate in the most natural way through cognitive interactions.
Fulfilling their social roles is crucial for robots to be able to move, see, hear and properly communicate in complex and unstructured spaces. Nevertheless, today’s human-robot interaction is not well-suited to fulfil these needs. Indeed, SARs that are currently available suffer from two main bottlenecks: they are limited to a handful of simple scenarios which leads to SARs not being well accepted by a large percentage of users such as older adults. This is why the goal the SPRING project has is to develop Socially Assistive Robots with the ability to perform multi-person interactions and have an open and extensive dialogue.
PAL Robotics will design and manufacture prototypes of high-performance gerontechnological ARI robots, as well as integrate the software developed by partners. The goal is for the robot to be able to participate in different user-cases in a hospital environment, such as welcoming newcomers to the waiting room, helping with check-in/out forms, providing information about the consultation agenda, being guide to appointments, and also offering entertainment.