• 1/11/2024
  • Reading time 3 min.

Robotics in nursing care

More transparency in the human-robot interaction

It is essential in nursing care to have a transparent mapping of the entire human-robot interaction. That is the outcome of the interdisciplinary research project Responsible Robotics, which researchers from TUM and the University of Graz completed in 2023. A data recorder helps to capture all events that occur when using a nursing care robot and make them visible and understandable for everyone involved.

Andreas Heddergott / TUM
Researchers test new capabilities of the care robot GARMI.

Researchers are constantly testing new capabilities of the GARMI nursing care robot. But which ethical, legal and technical requirements should be established to help build trust in the use of robots in nursing care? This question was the focal point of the research project Responsible Robotics supported by the Bavarian Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt). With technical sociologist Ruth Müller, medical ethicist Alena Buyx and robotics researcher Sami Haddadin of the Technical University of Munich (TUM), and legal expert Iris Eisenberger of the University of Graz, the project brought together professors from various fields.

Care is less tech-averse than expected

“We want to give tangible form to the societal dimension of technology,” says Ruth Müller, a professor of science and technology policy. “The important thing is to identify potential effects of innovative technologies during the development process.” In the context of ‘Robotics in care’, robots can provide support with everyday work. However, their use can also fundamentally change important nursing care routines. That is why it is essential to integrate the perspectives of those providing care into the development process. “The goal is for robots to support nursing staff in their work and expertise – not to replace them,” says Prof. Müller, who sees robotics as a flexible technology, the social consequences of which “will depend on many decisions and the weighting of values during the development process.”

Transparency for all concerned

A technology that has emerged from this interdisciplinary approach is the data recorder for the GARMI nursing care robot from the Geriatronics Research Center of the Munich Institute of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MIRMI). The recorder logs and virtualizes the entire care process: “We record all interactions with the robot to understand exactly what happened in case of an accident. This documentation is enormously important, especially with the vulnerable demographics such as the elderly and persons with physical and intellectual disabilities that we deal with,” says STS team member Maximilian Braun. The principle: With the aid of the data recorder, all procedures and interactions, for example in a rehabilitation treatment session, are processed and made visible – in a virtual and anonymized form. “This enables us to understand why something went wrong,” says Svenja Breuer. Especially important for the development of the recorder, she adds, are not only the engineering, social sciences and legal experts, but above all the involvement of those who will later be interacting with the robots.


Jon Skerlj, Maximilian Braun, Sophia Witz, Svenja Breuer, Marieke Bak, Sebastian Scholz, Abdeldjallil Naceri, Ruth Muller, Sami Haddadin, Iris Eisenberger; Data Recording for Responsible Robotics; 2023; https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/10187414

Svenja Breuer, Maximilian Braun, Daniel Tigard, Alena Buyx, Ruth Müller; How Engineers’ Imaginaries of Healthcare Shape Design and User Engagement: A Case Study of a Robotics Initiative for Geriatric Healthcare AI Applications; 2023; https://dl.acm.org/doi/full/10.1145/3577010

Further information and links

Scientist Dr. Daniel Tiger of the chair of ethics in medicine and health technologies of TUM explains the project „Responsible Robotics“: https://youtu.be/Hq97gfgT7XA

Information of the Bayerischen Forschungsinstituts für Digitale Transformation: https://www.bidt.digital/forschungsprojekt/responsible-robotics-rraiethische-und-soziale-aspekte-von-ki-basierten-transformationen-in-der-arbeits-und-wissensumgebung-des-gesundheitswesens/

Technical University of Munich

Corporate Communications Center

Contacts to this article:

Ruth Müller

Professor of Science and Technology Poicy

Technical University of Munich (TUM)


Sami Haddadin

Professor and Executive Director of the Munich Institute of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MIRMI)

Technical University of Munich (TUM)


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