The Services of Electro-mechanical Care Agencies (SELEMCA) lab was a research facility in Amsterdam dedicated to exploring novel assistive technologies for groups such as elderly persons and people suffering from (mental) health disorders. More specifically, our mandate included the development of systems built around human interactions with robots, computer-based agents, and virtual worlds. We refer to these systems as Caredroids, devices or software that will provide a variety of medical services.

As traditional channels for secondary health care become scarcer due to aging populations and smaller family sizes, supplementing or replacing existing support networks with technology such as Caredroids will become increasingly critical. The increasing demand for care services cannot be solved by productivity improvements alone.

A new approach is the use of creative technological solutions to supplement and replace existing care-services. These solutions include agents, robots, ambient and virtual worlds; mechanotronic robots that we call Caredroids - Product-Service Systems (PSSs) that create a better fit between carer and patient. In SELEMCA, a PSS is a value proposition consisting of a marketable set of robots and avatars that provide services such as brokerage, coaching, tutoring, conversation, and companionship as related to healthcare. They were designed and combined to optimally fulfill healthcare needs from the perspectives of the patient, caretaker, care professional, and care managers. Clients may not attach particular value to the electro-mechanics or virtual environments themselves but rather to the functionality that robots and their digital counterparts offer. SELEMCA focused on care brokerage, exercise coaching, Q&A on wellbeing, companionship, and health education.

What questions were answered?
Teams from 3 universities and industry partners were working together to address the questions:

How do users of Caredroid experience these novel product-service combinations – both in terms of having humanoid company and as interactive healthcare tools?
How to improve the relationship between Caredroids and humans in terms of creativity and aesthetics?
How to establish trust in the application of Caredroids in the medical domain?

What have the teams achieved?
The team has established a transdisciplinary design theory of human-android interaction by investigating the human affective system and emotion regulation. This lead to the development of generic knowledge instruments and design guidelines to create care services that are emotionally intelligent and human-oriented.

Timeframe and communication:
SELEMCA started in 2011 and finished in 2015. The project generated innovative scientific knowledge in the forms of new learning technology facilitating brainstorming and problemsolving. Scientific output was distributed in journal publications and conference proceedings. Throughout the project, we have communicated information and results via this website.

Who was involved?
Scientific partners: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Delft University of Technology, University of Twente, Inholland;
Creative and Industry partners: Osira, GermansMedia, IC3D Media, Roessingh Enschede, Aernout Mik, Waag Society, Lost Boys, Mentrum/Arkin, Appsterdam, Hanson Robotics.

Project leaders
Dr. Dr. Johan F. Hoorn, CAMeRA@VU


  • Twaalf uur voorlezen aan een dementerende? Geen probleem Sevil, M A care robot that can have a conversation, play chess, predict the weather or call an ambulance Download
  • Robots in de zorg Poelman, W., & Hoorn, J. F. The opportunities and constraints of using robots in care Download
  • Coppélius’ concoction: Similarity and complementarity among three affect related agent models Hoorn, J. F., Pontier, M. A., & Siddiqui, G. F. An analysis of the theoretical concepts, resulting in a more precise representation of affect simulation in virtual humans, which are verified with simulation tests. Download
  • Creative Confluence Hoorn, J. F. New book information about Creative Confluence  Download
  • Zorgrobots, de toekomst van de gezondheidszorg Renzenbrink, Reflection on Robot Alice, a robot project in care

    Available at: als pdf/2013/juni/zorgrobots.2473007.lynkx
  • Epistemics of the virtual Hoorn, J. F. New book information Download
  • How women think robots perceive them – as if robots were men Pontier, M. A., & Hoorn, J. F the current paper employs a non-naïve version of a Turing Test to compare an agent’s affective performance with that of a human. We compared the performance of an agent equipped with our cognitive model to the performance of a human that controlled the agent in a Wizard of Oz condition during a speed-dating experiment in which participants were told they were dealing with a robot in both conditions. Download
  • Moral Coppélia Combining ratio with affect in ethical reasoning. Pontier, M. A., Widdershoven, G., & Hoorn, J. F. An integration of rational moral reasoning with emotional intelligence. The moral reasoning system alone could not simulate the different human reactions to the Trolley dilemma and the Footbridge dilemma. However, the combined system can simulate these human moral decision making processes. Download
  • Toward machines that behave ethically better than humans do Pontier, M. A., & Hoorn, J. F This paper presents a moral reasoner that combines connectionism, utilitarianism and ethical theory about moral duties Download
  • Organic creativity and the physics within Hoorn, J. F. New book announcement on creativity Download
  • Anatomische les van een pratende scan De Brock, P News article Download
  • A computational model of affective moral decision making that predicts human criminal choices. Pontier, M.A., Gelder, J.L. van & Vries, R.E. de In the present paper is shown that a computational model of affective moral decision making can fit human behavior data obtained from an empirical study on criminal choices Download
  • Robots that stimulate our autonomy Pontier, M.A. & Widdershoven, G.A.M. A moral reasoning system that takes into account a twofold approach of autonomy. Download
  • Robots kunnen positieve bijdrage leveren aan de zorg Waardenburg, I News article Download
  • Machine medical ethics when a human is delusive but the android has its wits about him. Hoorn, J. F. Book Download
  • Psychological aspects of technology interacting with humans Hoorn, J. F.
  • Menselijkheid zorgrobot ontneemt angst Van Dorresteijn, M. Full text available at:
  • Moral concerns about ethical Caredroids Cullison, A. Available at: concerns about ethical caredroids/ 
  • Moral Coppélia: Affective moral reasoning with twofold autonomy and a touch of personality Pontier, M. A., Widdershoven, G., Hoorn, J. F., Van Gelder, J. L., & De Vries, R. Presents a moral reasoner, Moral Coppélia that combines rational ethical theory with affective states and personality traits.  Download
  • Stakeholder logistics of an interactive system Hoorn, J. F. In dealing with several key concepts in HCI, task analysis, and requirements engineering, I hypothesize that the Usability of interactive systems depends on their Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Effort. In its turn, Usability is one of the predictors of Satisfaction.  Download
  • Vertrouw jij een robot als je zorg nodig hebt? Budding Hennink, A. Available at: jij een robot als je zorg nodig hebt/
  • Zorgrobot wapen tegen eenzaamheid ouderen Karadarevic, A. Available at: zorgrobot wapen tegen eenzaamheid ouderen. 
  • Alice, de zorgrobot van de toekomst Villa VPRO / Radio 1.
  • Zorgbots maar geen botte zorg Van Kemenade, M., Hoorn, J. F., Paauwe, R. A., & Spekman, M.  Caredriods  zorgbot  maar geen botte zorg.html
  • Robots Humanize Care: Moral Concerns Versus Witnessed Benefits for the Elderly Kemenade, M.A.M., Konijn E.A. & Hoorn, J.F.  This paper reports on a qualitative study among professional caregivers and a documentary portraying healthy elderly meeting with Hanson’s Robokind “Alice Download
  • Machine Medical Ethics: When a Human Is Delusive but the Machine Has Its Wits About Him Hoorn, J.F. This paper develops a responsibility self-test that can be used to navigate the moral mine field of ethical positions that evolves from differently weighing or prioritizing the principles of autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence, and justice.
  • The In-between Machine: The Unique Value Proposition of a Robot or Why we are Modelling the Wrong Things Hoorn, J.F., Konijn, E.A., Germans, D.M., Burger, S., Munneke, A. This paper formulates a number of effects that a social robot may provoke in lonely people and point at those imperfections in machine performance that seem to be tolerable. It moreover makes the point that care offered by humans is not necessarily the most preferred – even when or sometimes exactly because emotional concerns are at stake.  Download
  • Machine medical ethics Van Rysewyk, S. P. & Pontier, M. A. Download


  • SPUSZLE - the spastic puzzle

    With Spuszle a handicap such as a spasm will not be a restriction, but is a game element! Spuszle can change any image into a digital puzzle, projected onto a computer screen. While every player add pieces to the puzzle, the next player with for instance a spasm can play an entirely different role by messing the game up. 
  • Alice does the MANSA

    Alice is a care-robot, meant to guide lonely elderly or elderly who are dealing with dementia. They do not only provide company, but can also be used for practice help, such as physical therapy, the shows emotions and can even make moral decisions. Alice is in a wheel chair and needs help herself. While you help Alice, she is doing her job. She speaks to people, make sure you will not get lost and elderly no longer need a walker. Alice breaks the stigma of the illness and prevents a feeling of being patronised. 
  • DARwIn physiotherapist

    DARwIn-OP is a Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence - Open Platform, which means that everybody can help program the AI of this android with the cat-like head and reflexes. DARwIn does quite some advanced sensoring (head follows objects quickly and accurately), it can carry a high payload, and has dynamic motion ability with high-performance networked actuators, a really good gait algorithm, vision, and inverse kinematics. If it trips over, it can put itself back on its feet again as if it were a breakdancer.
  • Biking Apart Together

    During the participating in the EU funded project Metaverse1 CAMeRA helped to provide a standardised global framework that enables the interoperability between virtual worlds (e.g. Second Life, Google Earth) and the real world (e.g. sensors, vision and rendering, social welfare systems). For the SELEMCA project we would like to use this knowledge and develop new products for the elderly people. (e.g. biking apart together).
  • Caren Carebroker

    Talking with people from different care institutions about the development and the use of new technologies within the health care domain (e.g., caredroids and virtual agents). During these conversations the SELEMCA realised it is difficult for the care institute’s clients to oversee the complexity of all the rules and regulations in the health care domain. The idea arose to develop the CareDroidBroker app ZorgQ (equipped with the software of the Silicon Coppélia model and a ‘smart’ database system), which guides people through this process and helps them to make the ‘right’ decisions.
  • Chimp Chess Champ

    An off-the-shelf chimpanzee toy robot is installed with in-house developed artificial intelligence for affect generation and emotion regulation (Silicon Coppélia model). The robot can have a short interaction with the participant, playing the tic-tac-toe game. We equipped the toy chimp with several sensors so users can touch and pet it to show affection. These inputs will be used to control the affective behaviour of the chimp towards the user. The chimpanzee will be able to trade rational choices to win the game for affective choices to let the human opponent win if that person is nice to him (e.g., patting on the back). Additional to serving as a test bed for the empirical evaluation of emotion models, the chimpanzee also can be used as a virtual companion to improve the well-being of people, for instance, during long-term care trajectories.
  • Talking CT Head

    The Talking CT Head is an integration of ps-medtech desktop virtual reality, IC3D Media game technology, and the Luminis PulseOn e-learning system. SELEMCA agent technology will be applied in the next phase.
    Ps-medtech is the company that developed the VR hardware and made the 3D CT scans navigable. Medical Technology Inholland provided the expert knowledge on, for example, radiology. Their students and teachers are the end-users of this system. IC3D Media is a company dedicated to the development of game engines and avatar technology. They designed the mouth layer over the CT scan head. They moreover developed the audio so that the head can talk about itself. Luminis/PulseOn is a company that delivered the e-learning platform for personalised learning.