Use of a Mini Robot as a new approach for cognitive and social stimulation in home care

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Spain Spain IDES

Early Stage Researcher (ESR13)

Photo of Aysan Mahmoudi Asl

Aysan Mahmoudi Asl

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Prof Manuel Franco Martín

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Dr Henriëtte van der Roest 

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Hi, I am Aysan, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from Iran University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran. I have been engaged in research and work areas of Cognitive Rehabilitation and Dementia in elderly adults for 5 years, gaining clinical experience in Mental and Dementia rehabilitation. I believe the DISTINCT project is going to be a rewarding experience for us, opening new doors of solution for Dementia care.

Upon conducting my thesis in master’s degree, which aimed to validate latest dementia and cognitive assessment tools in elderly adults, I felt a great importance for researches with more clinical applicability in the real world for a real issue. Therefore, my research interest lies in cognitive technology and assistive devices with a purpose of enhancing quality of life and independency in daily living of Dementia cases.

Start date December 2019
Duration 36 months


To investigate the usability and feasibility of a prototype social robot named MINI (developed by Carlos III University of Madrid) to be employed in laboratory and community settings in people with dementia and mild cognitive impairment. In partnership with the engineers, we will explore the interactions between the robot and users to improve the robot’s features and functions and increase the robot’s potential in supporting and enhancing the social health and well-being of people with dementia and cognitive impairments.

Expected Results

An evidence base for the feasibility and usability of the MINI Robot in laboratory and community settings to improve the social health of people with dementia and cognitive impairments aged over 65. In particular, for people with dementia who live by themselves, MINI robot may have the potential to improve social interactions, mood, and stimulate cognitive functions. Once the robot is useful and acceptable to the intended users, we will develop other projects to look into its efficacy in real environments. 

Planned secondment(s)

Two for 3 months each. The first in year one with CVUT to help integrate the Petbot developed in Prague and study the feasibility of its implementation in a living lab. The second, in year 3 at VUMC to study potential facilitators and barriers to implementing MINI robot in the meeting centers of the Netherlands and Spain. 



  1. Koh WQ., Heins P., Flynn A., Mahmoudi Asl A., Garcia L., Malinowsky C., & Brorsson A. (2022). Bridging gaps in the design and implementation of socially assistive technologies for dementia care: the role of occupational therapy. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. 1-9.
  2. Mahmoudi Asl A., Molinari Ulate M., Franco Martin M., & van der Roest H. (2022). Methodologies Used to Study the Feasibility, Usability, Efficacy, and Effectiveness of Social Robots For Elderly Adults: Scoping Review. J Med Internet Res 24(8).


  1. Mahmoudi, A., van der Roest, H.G., & Franco Martin, M.A. (2022, 17-19 October). Main findings of the DISTINCT projects on technology to promote social health [Symposium presentation]. 32nd Alzheimer Europe Conference. Bucharest, Romania.
  2. Mahmoudi, A., van der Roest, H.G., Molinari Ulate, M., & Franco Martin, M.A. (2021, July 26-30). Methodologies used to study the effectiveness of social robots in long-term and community care settings [Poster presentation]. 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Virtual, Denver, USA
  3. Molinari Ulate, M.*, Mahmoudi, A., Parra Vidales, E., Muñoz Sánchez, J.L., Franco Martin, M.A., & van der Roest, H.G. (2021, July 26-30). Comprehensive Geriatric Assessments for long-term and home care settings and digital platforms available to support their applicability: A Systematic Review [Poster presentation]. 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference. Virtual, Denver, USA (*presenting author)