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FHNW Robo Lab

Using social robots in Switzerland – a research project to support SMEs

In view of the digital revolution, the FHNW University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland is supporting an interdisciplinary research project on “collaborative, social robots”, which is being run from 2018 to 2020. Various FHNW schools are working together to develop methods and tools for supporting SMEs in deciding whether and how to introduce robots.

Case studies on the use of social robots

In the first phase, case studies will be carried out on the use of social robots in practice-related fields such as industry, training and further education, hospitals, retirement homes, shopping and tourism. The so-called “social robots” will be used in several hotels in Switzerland and abroad and occasionally even on cruise ships and in train stations and airports.

Developing design and software solutions and pilot applications

The second phase will involve devising design and software solutions and developing acceptance and competency models. These developments will be tested during a third phase in the form of pilot applications.

Interdisciplinary collaboration

The application-oriented analysis and design of social robots relies on expert knowledge from a range of disciplines. That is why engineering and IT specialists, sociologists and educational researchers from several FHNW schools are all working in close cooperation in the FHNW Robo Lab.


  • Identify the potential benefits of social robots.
  • Adapt the robots to the meet the specific needs of SMEs and provide support for them when the robots are introduced.
  • Expand the FHNW Robo Lab – the interdisciplinary and application-focussed skills and cooperation network for the Swiss research and development landscape

Project Dates

Project management team

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Schulze, Hochschule für Angewandte Psychologie FHNW (Leitung)

Prof. Dr. Roland Anderegg, Hochschule für Technik FHNW

Prof. Dr. Thomas Besselmann, Hochschule für Technik FHNW

Prof. Dr. Rolf Dornberger, Hochschule für Wirtschaft FHNW (stv. Leitung)

Ricarda T.D. Reimer, Pädagogische Hochschule FHNW

Funding FHNW, Strategic Initiative

The steering committee is made up of representatives from the fields of industry, science, and healthcare as well as from professional associations, all working towards the strategic development of the project.
Duration 2018 - 2020

Project management team contacts

For more information and opportunities to get involved, e.g. we are still looking for companies interested in taking part in case studies or pilot tests. We look forward to hearing from you.

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Schulze

Head of Institute for Research and Development of Collaborative Processes

to Prof. Dr. Hartmut Schulze

Ricarda T.D. Reimer

Head of Department for Digital Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

to Ricarda T.D. Reimer

Prof. Dr. Rolf Dornberger

Head of Institute for Information Systems

to Prof. Dr. Rolf Dornberger

Prof. Dr. Thomas Besselmann

Lecturer for Mechatronics

to Prof. Dr. Thomas Besselmann

Prof. Dr. Roland Anderegg

Head of Institute of Automation

to Prof. Dr. Roland Anderegg