Cognitive Assessment Through Human-robot Interaction (CATHI)


CATHI has been awarded the Shared University Research Award by the IBM Corporation

The  team won an award in 2018 from the International Federation for the Promotion of Mechanism and Machine Science, in recognition of significant achievement in Medical and Service Robotics.

This friendly robot listens, speaks, watches, and analyses during an assessment


Illnesses such as dementia are becoming more prevalent in an ageing population. Treatment is more effective for these debilitating conditions when they’re detected earlier, but busy doctors don’t have time to perform significant numbers of screenings.

Click here for CATHI presentation by John McNamara, IBM Senior Inventor.

Come and meet CATHI – Cognitive Assessment Through Human-Robot Interaction. You’ll see a robotic medical health technician who listens, speaks, and watches while presenting and analysing an industry-standard cognitive test.

The potential is to make initial screenings available at medical centres as straightforward as getting your blood pressure checked. For the patient, it’s a more friendly and reassuring experience than an abstract online assessment. For the doctor, it’s a way to concentrate on those identified as needing a full cognitive assessment.

IBM Cloud Services enhance automatic cognitive assessment via human-robot interaction

Sheffield Hallam University worked with an IBM Senior Inventor and Visiting Research Fellow from Hursley’s Innovation Centre to enhance their Cognitive Assessment Robot project. They used IBM Watson Visual Recognition for analysing drawings, plus Speech to Text, Text to Speech, and Watson Assistant for expressive natural discussions.

Main publications:

  1. Di Nuovo, A., Varrasi, S., Lucas, A., Conti, D., Mcnamara, J., & Soranzo, A. (2019). Assessment of Cognitive skills via Human-robot Interaction and Cloud Computing. JOURNAL OF BIONIC ENGINEERING. May 2019, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 526–539.
  2. Di Nuovo, A., Varrasi, S., Conti, D., Bamsforth, J., Lucas, A., Soranzo, A., & McNamara, J. (2019). Usability Evaluation of a Robotic System for Cognitive Testing. In 2019 14th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) (pp. 588-589). IEEE.
  3. Varrasi S., Lucas A., Soranzo A., Mcnamara J., Di Nuovo A. (2019) “IBM Cloud Services enhance automatic cognitive assessment via human-robot interaction.”, In: New Trends in Medical and Service Robotics, Advances in Theory and Practice, pp. 169-176
  4. Varrasi S., Di Nuovo S., Conti D., Di Nuovo A. (2019) Social Robots as Psychometric Tools for Cognitive Assessment: A Pilot Test. In: Ficuciello F., Ruggiero F., Finzi A. (eds) Human Friendly Robotics. Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics, vol 7. 99-112, Springer, Cham