The EU-funded project CARESSES aims to create the first culturally competent robots for elderly care. The abbreviation stands for Culture Aware Robots and Environmental Sensor Systems for Elderly Support, at the same time is called "Caresses" in German "caresses."
Behind the groundbreaking idea of CARESSES is the goal of designing the robots to adapt their way of acting and speaking to the culture and habits of the person who helps them. For example, even simple greetings in other cultures are often different and the robot could seem quite clumsy or even hurtful without understanding it.
What does a CARESSES robot do?
In communicating with an older person, the robot and its knowledge should be precisely tailored to its counterpart, adapting it to the cultural identity and individual characteristics of that person. With this knowledge, the robot can remind the elderly person to take their prescribed medications, encourage healthy eating and exercise, or help keep them in touch with family and friends. The robot will also be able to suggest suitable clothing for special occasions and to remind the person of upcoming religious or other celebrations. A robot will not replace a caregiver. Nonetheless, he will play a vital role in making the lives of older people less lonely, and helping to prevent a carer from having to be around all the time.
Experiment with different cultures
In April 2019 the first experiments with volunteers take place in nursing homes. Between Great Britain and Japan, there is access to users from different cultures to test the robots. According to Sanjeev Kanoria (researcher and founder of Advinia HealthCare) English, Indian and Japanese participants were selected for the experiments.
Video: Presentation video CARESSES
Video: Cultural Interaction in the Laboratory