Robots for Health and Elderly Care - RoboHEC

An Honest Discourse on the Gap Between Research and Practical Applications

An IROS 2020 workshop - October 29 - Las Vegas


Numerous robotic solutions have been designed and developed for use in healthcare, such as surgical devices, logistic robots, telepresence devices or companion robots. Some of these technologies are already implemented in hospital settings and are used on a daily basis, while others have not matured to that stage yet. Many solutions have been developed and successfully tested in a research context but fail to have substantial impact beyond the research environment for various reasons. Due to the complex nature of the domain, with many different stakeholders being involved, it is nontrivial to develop viable use cases and a joint understanding for roboticists and healthcare professionals. These complexities are the motivation for the organization of this workshop, where presenters and attendees will explore reasons for successes but also failures of robotic solutions for health and elderly care, discuss forward-thinking solutions as well as current challenges in this domain including technical challenges but also aspects such as ethics, user acceptance and commercialization hurdles .

We expect the attendance of expert stakeholders related to this field: roboticists, human-robot interaction researchers, health and elderly care managers/professional, robot ethicists, etc. We will also welcome and encourage contributions from students and early-career researchers, and contributions from health and elderly care managers or professionals who are not necessarily used to writing scientific papers. The workshop will a forum in which all participants will be encouraged to express their opinions and have honest and pragmatic discussions on how robotics can play a significant role in health and elderly care, with concrete impacts.


Due to the pandemic and the related restrictions the workshop has been adjusted to be based on on-demand content, available on the IROS platform, and a condensed, synchronous online event.

October 29, 13:00 - 15:00 UTC

The details of the program found here.


The list of topics is not exhaustive and contributions addressing other topics that are still in line with the overall aim of the workshop will also be considered. An actual call for papers as well as details for the submission will be provided here later.

  • What impact can robotics have on health and older adult care?

  • What is missing for more widespread adoption of robotics in this field?

  • How to move beyond successful research projects to make a difference in peoples’ lives?

  • How can technology support the practitioners in the healthcare domain?

  • For which tasks are robots suitable? And for which should they be avoided?

  • How can multidisciplinary teams design robots with end-users in the loop?

  • What are the keys to success in long term deployment of robots?

  • What are the main ethical considerations in robots assisting vulnerable end users?

  • What sensing and reasoning capabilities are required for an intuitive interaction between robots and end-users?

  • What methods can be harnessed to develop socially acceptable robot behaviors?

  • What role can physical human-robot interaction play and how can challenges be addressed?

Invited speakers

  • Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu: When does the gap between healthcare and technology turn into an enabler?

  • Mette Maria Skjøth: Hospital of the future – How can robots play a role?

  • Yoshio Matsumoto: Development and introduction of robotic devices for elderly care: Japan experience and future perspective

  • Jenay Beer: Robotics for Persons with Dementia: Opportunities for Cognitive Training, Social Connectedness, and Health Management

  • Holly Yanco: Design of Human-Robot Interaction for Assistive Manipulation

Information for authors

All authors have been contacted. Please find instructions and guidelines here.