SOCRATES - Social Cognitive Robotics in the European Society

European Comission (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016)

SOCRATES investigates social robotics, focusing especially on older people. The project is based on the need for caregivers to have advanced tools that stimulate people with cognitive deficits.

SOCRATES is a program promoted by the European Commission that investigates social robotics, focusing it especially on older people. It is composed of 15 young researchers in training, more than 20 senior researchers from 7 different European universities and 8 companies or centres, including Fundació ACE.

The project is based on the need of caregivers to have advanced tools that stimulate people with cognitive deficits. In this sense, robots are very convenient tools, programmed to adapt to people's needs and help them in different ways.

SOCRATES uses the TIAGo robot from PAL Robotics, which has capabilities such as a manipulating arm, cameras and speech capability. The robot changes the behaviour depending on the person's reactions and helps them to complete the tasks as well as possible.

Fundació ACE has collaborated with the Institute of Robotics and Industrial Computing CSIC-UPC to design a cognitive stimulation game based on a board of pieces that have to be ordered. In this way, interactions are generated so that the robot helps the person with dementia to overcome the challenge. The robot remembers the task, animates, gives clues and even manipulates the pieces if they are wrongly placed. On the other hand, the caregiver can configure the behavior of the robot in a way that makes things easy, to encourage, or difficult, to stimulate. 

The role of robotics in cognitive stimulation

For people with Alzheimer's or other dementias, robots will have a relevant role in stimulating cognitive activities in the future. In addition, they will be able to help caregivers and doctors by providing them with accurate, first-hand data about the people they care for.

The ultimate goal of this project, with long-term experiments to be conducted at Fundació ACE, is to verify the beneficial effect of these robots when the initial novelty wears off. In fact, it is planned to experiment with the robot in the daycare hospital and later on people with cognitive impairment could take it home to help them with their therapist's homework.

Robots could become an essential tool to help improve the quality of the time that health professionals spend with people, as well as to promote the empowerment and independence of people with difficulties. However, it will still take a long time for social robotics to be implemented, beyond the research prototypes.

Data sheet

Start date


End date


Sponsors / funders

European Comission (Horizon 2020 Program)


3.874.726,44 €

Project leader at Fundació ACE

Carla Abdelnour, neurologist and Deputy Head of the Clinical Trials Unit


  1. Umeå University, Sweden (UMU) 
  2. Örebro University, Sweden (ORU)
  3. Universität Hamburg, Germany (HAM)
  4. Fraunhofer IPA, Stuttgart, Germany (FHG)
  5. CSIC Barcelona, Spain (CSIC)
  6. University of the West of England, United Kingdom (UWE)
  7. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel (BGU)
  8. PAL Robotics, Barcelona, Spain (PAL-R)
  9. Adele Robots (ADELE)
  10. Asea Brown Boveri, S.A., Barcelona, Spain (ABB)
  11. Alfred Nobel Science Park, Örebro, Sweden (ANSAP)
  12. Fundació ACE, Barcelona, Spain (FUN)
  13. Uminova Innovation AB (UMINOVA)
  14. Center for Digital Innovation (CDI)

Links of interest

Scientific publications

Resource-Based Modality Selection in Robot-Assisted Cognitive Training.
HRI '18: Companion of the 2018 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (March 2018). doi:
Taranović, A., Jevtić, A., Hernández-Farigola, J., Tantinyà, N., Abdelnour, C. and Torras, C.

Deciding the Different Robot Roles for Patient Cognitive Training.
International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJHCS), volume 117, pages 20–29 (September 2018). doi: 10.1016/j.ijhcs.2018.03.004.
Andriella, A., Alenyà, G., Hernández-Farigola, J. and Torras, C.