Cáritas Coimbra secondment in TUKE due to Lifebots

Natália Machado, Cáritas Coimbra project manager, arrived in Kosice, on August 16 to the first two weeks of the Cáritas secondment in TUKE.

During this first period of secondment, Natália, Peter and Marek worked together to build a questionnaire: “new technologies and social robots in care – the caregiver’s perception”. The aim is to analyse Cáritas caregivers’ answers in the second part of the secondment and get to know their expectations about how social robots can help in care. The second part of the secondment continued in december.

In these two weeks, Natália also accompanied the PhD students’ researchers in several areas related to robotics and artificial intelligence. They presented their research about the use of NAO robot in the care of people with dementia.


Also, she presented a seminar about Cáritas Coimbra’ projects and expectations with the LIFEBOTS project.


During these two weeks, Natália, Peter, Marek and TUKE PhD students got together to discuss the AI role in older people care with a focus on the ethical issues. They also had analysed CDC caregivers’ answers to the questionnaire, which resulted in a report about the worked led in the secondment.

In the last day, Natália and Peter had a meeting to make an overview of what has been discussed during her stay.


After the secondment, she took a time to answer some questions about his experience.


Have you seen any potential for research and innovation between CDC and TUKE?

Yes. We’ve worked together to build a questionnaire and analyses the answers of CDC caregivers. Their perceptions about the use of AI in the daily routine can improve TUKE research about social robots.


What is the most interesting part of what you have encountered in TUKE?

All persons from TUKE were awesome, very hospitable and received me very well. The research about the robot NAO was very interesting. It was possible to follow the PhD students in some presentations and learn more about their research.

Thus, we could discuss what Cáritas work can help in Tuke’s future research and vice versa.


What were the main challenges?

Although it is possible to speak in English, the main challenge was the adaptation to the local language in the daily routine outside the university. Also, in the second part of the secondment, in December, I could participate in one of Peter’s lecture about Fuzzy systems. It was a great experience, but it was possible to see how complex this matter is.


Any recommendations to future secondees?

In one hand, to get in the University routine is very easy in other, the time passes very quickly. So, to make previous planning of what will consist the secondment could be very useful.

Also, in the free time, it is possible to enjoy the Slovakia green fields. Caves and hiking are a good option for who like to be in nature. In food matter, I highly recommend the dumplings and “bryndzové halusky”.


What will you remember forever?

Peter and Marek knowledge about robots is incredible! It was awesome to hear about all their experience and studies. I am looking forward to receive the TUKE team in Cáritas and show then our work.


LIFEBOTS Exchange is a project from the Horizon 2020 programme that promotes international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral cooperation in the area of social robotics technology for care.

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