International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 195–211 | Cite as

Socially Assistive Robots: A Comprehensive Approach to Extending Independent Living

  • David O. JohnsonEmail author
  • Raymond H. Cuijpers
  • James F. Juola
  • Elena Torta
  • Mikhail Simonov
  • Antonella Frisiello
  • Marco Bazzani
  • Wenjie Yan
  • Cornelius Weber
  • Stefan Wermter
  • Nils Meins
  • Johannes Oberzaucher
  • Paul Panek
  • Georg Edelmayer
  • Peter Mayer
  • Christian Beck


Demographic developments have challenged our research on how to assist elderly people by using robots. The KSERA (Knowledgeable SErvice Robots for Aging) project integrates smart home technology and a socially-assistive robot to extend independent living for elderly people, in particular those with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). The social robot is the most visible component of the system playing the role of communication interface between the elderly, the smart home, and the external world. The robot’s behavior is determined in part by sensor information gathered through the smart home. To ensure user acceptance, we used user-centered design to implement the robot’s behavior. This paper describes the KSERA system, how it was developed based on user needs, treatment plans, and lab studies, and how we validated the approach through user studies and field trials. The key enabling technologies for successful socially-assistive robots include person- and self-localization abilities, person-aware navigation, speech recognition and generation, robot gestures, emulated emotions, eye contact and joint attention, and audio-video communication with family members and care givers.


Human-robot interaction Socially assistive robot Smart home User-centered design 



The KSERA project ( received funding from the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) for Research and Technological Development under grant agreement No. 2010-248085.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • David O. Johnson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Raymond H. Cuijpers
    • 1
  • James F. Juola
    • 1
  • Elena Torta
    • 1
  • Mikhail Simonov
    • 2
  • Antonella Frisiello
    • 2
  • Marco Bazzani
    • 2
  • Wenjie Yan
    • 3
  • Cornelius Weber
    • 3
  • Stefan Wermter
    • 3
  • Nils Meins
    • 3
  • Johannes Oberzaucher
    • 4
  • Paul Panek
    • 5
  • Georg Edelmayer
    • 5
  • Peter Mayer
    • 5
  • Christian Beck
    • 5
  1. 1.Human Technology InteractionEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Istituto Superiore Mario BoellaTorinoItaly
  3. 3.Department of InformaticsUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  4. 4.CEIT RALTECInstitute of Rehabilitation and Assisted Living TechnologiesSchwechatAustria
  5. 5.Vienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria

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