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LIFEBOTS Exchange aims at enhancing cross-sector, international and interdisciplinary collaboration in the area of social robotics technology. The project focuses particularly on the health and care sector, and examines how social robots can be included in people’s lives.

LIFEBOTS Exchange is a project financed by the Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE), which is part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA). The RISE programme promotes cross-border and cross-sector collaboration through sharing knowledge and ideas from research to market and vice versa.

This workshop, following on from a full-day conference organised by the vCare project held on 29 August 2022, played a role in connecting together virtual coaching, physical coaching, the use of social robots, and the wider ecosystem(s) of health data and digital health in the context of home-based rehabilitation and care. It focused on human-machine interaction; what is common to all human-machine interaction initiatives/projects, and what are their outcomes and consequences. Most practically, it emphasised what works well – physical interaction, virtual interaction, or a mix of both.

Learn more about vCare.

Check out the videos of the first day of the vCare Final Conference.


DAY 2 | Monday 30 August

[1] Welcome and introduction

Hannes Schlieter (TU Dresden, Germany)




Artur Serrano (NTNU, Norway)




The speakers welcomed attendees to Scotland House and the workshop. They introduced the collaboration between vCare and Lifebots Exchange.

They provided a rapid overview of the outcomes of the previous day’s discussions run by vCare: vCare’s unique value proposition; vCare stories and its promise; connecting vCare with the wider ecosystem; and – ultimately – what is needed to take vCare further along the road through an exploitation roadmap.

An introduction was given to LIFEBOTS Exchange’s work on social robots in Europe, and outlined how the project aims to facilitate interactions between personnel in workforces in academe and industry.

This morning’s session showed where social robots, AI, serious games, and various forms of coaching are all headed in the future.

[2] Conditions for effective deployment of AI technology in projects


Moderation and introduction by Rachelle Kaye, Assuta, Israel




Jin Liu, FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik, Germany




Artur Serrano, Professor in Welfare Technology, NTNU, Norway



What conditions are needed in European projects to ensure that AI-based technologies will be successfully deployed? Views on the conditions needed were offered by a speaker from vCare, followed by a speaker from LIFEBOTS Exchange. A short debate / discussion among attendees followed.

[3] Challenges for components integration: Points for attention
Moderated by Jean-Christophe Mestres, IBM, France

Alvaro Martinez (MySphera, Spain) 





Mircea Vasile (Simavi, Romania)




Carlos Neves, Software Developer (IDMind, Portugal)



Getting all the various components in any system integrated can pose considerable challenges. The vCare project has had plenty of experience of how a wide number of system components have been brought together under one umbrella. Firms working with social robots also have experience in this field. A short debate / discussion among attendees followed.

[4] Serious games for rehabilitation: State-of-the-art
Moderated by Artur Serrano, NTNU, Norway

Lucia Pannese, Chief Executive Officer (Imaginary S.R.L., Italy)




Ronny Broekx, Co-Founder (ePoint, Belgium) 



Serious games are a growing field of activity in many markets. While several digital approaches are being experimented with for purposes of tele-rehabilitation, these presentations outlined the current state of play of games and the importance of including patients in the design phase to motivate them to adhere to any recommendations. When healthy and active ageing is key, the focus needs to be on personalisation and patient empowerment. A short debate / discussion among attendees followed.

[5] Virtual versus physical coaches: Pros and cons


Moderated by Sarah Janboecke (e-VITA project, Germany/Japan)

Emmanuel Sandner (Austrian Institute of Technology, Vienna, Austria)




Elisabete Pitarma, Innovation Department Project Manager (Caritas Diocesana de Coimbra, Portugal)



Increasing numbers of initiatives, including projects, are focusing on coaching – whether physical or virtual or both. vCare has experience with virtual coaches (avatars). Other example projects include AGAPE, Good Brother, Pharaon, SmartWork, ValueCare, and the Portuguese national initiative, ActiVas. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, upsides and downsides. Issues of keen interest involve co-creation with the users and different types of stakeholders. Of core importance is the validation and assessment of all results. Speakers from vCare and LIFEBOTS Exchange introduced the topic. A lively discussion followed.

12:20 CET Outcomes and conclusions


A rapid overview was given to the main outcomes and conclusions from this half-day workshop, especially with regard to potential future exploitation. This session offered attendees insights into what are the next steps to be anticipated from the vCare follow-up and LIFEBOTS Exchange during 2023. EHTEL briefed attendees on its coming suite of “Imagining 2029” webinars. It highlighted that an upcoming InteropEHRate final conference will focus on the use of data in digital health. There will also be an EHTEL 2022 Symposium, with relevant topics, to be held on 28-29 November 2022.


Check out the videos of the first day of the vCare Final Conference.

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