Project participations

VIVA - Robots for assistance functions: interaction strategies; subproject ‘trustworthy and sympathetic, "lively" social robot’

Robots will work more and more closely with us humans and will make their way into our private households through their usefulness. This requires a new quality of interaction and trust in such machines. We humans create the trust and mutual liking required for living closely together through continuous social interactions. To be accepted in a private environment, robots must therefore have social competence and show “lively” sympathetic behaviour.

The goal of the project is the development of a social robot (VIVA), that improves the users’ emotional state and gains their trust through a vivid presence and a sympathetic interaction. VIVA thus becomes an attentive and empathetic roommate. It recognizes users’ emotional states and reacts sensitively to them. VIVA actively initiates a dialogue, asks questions and can “small talk” to increase the well-being of the user. She wants to get to know the social structure of the user and encourages them to cultivate it.

The design and implementation of such a robot requires a highly interdisciplinary approach in which scientists, engineers and designers work together on complex technical, social, ethical and design issues and test solutions with users.

Project website:


"poliTE: social appropriateness for assistance technology"

Assistance technology is used in more and more areas of everyday life and these systems interact with people in different ways. Examples for such systems are not only robots in industrial settings, but smarthome technology, teachable personal assistants (e.g., on the smartphone) or social robots. Assistance systems are on their way to become an everyday phenomenon. But in their interactions with humans they usually only follow their own logic, human cultural techniques to deal with social situations as norms or rules for polite behavior, are usually irrelevant in more advanced interactions between humans and technology. This is the starting point of the project poliTE: social appropriateness for assistance technology ( It is a cooperation between the Forschungskolleg "Zukunft menschlich gestalten" (FoKoS) of Siegen University and the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) of Bielefeld University and is funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung. The project examins social appropriateness in human-human interaction and the implementation of the found dimensions in the context of social assistance technology. Thus, poliTE supports the development of assistance systems which behave appropriately, e.g., by offering workshops and developing a handbook on the topic.