Serena Dorrestijn
The robot brings smiles in care institutions

Serena Dorrestijn

SARA Product Owner


Supported by:

EIT Digital The EIT Digital is supported by the EIT, a body of the European Union

Generated funding

EUR 610 000 (+ EIT Digital COVID Venture Support of max EUR 400.000)


To improve quality of life in care institutions for both patients and professionals


Bright Cape, TU Berlin, Forum Virium and GIM

Main product


The Project

  • The idea

    SARA (Social & Autonomous Robotic health Assistant) eases the workplace stress that affects care professionals and delivers improved quality of life for their clients. The data-driven robot acts as a social entity within care institutions, nursing homes, and hospitals to increase the quality of care.

  • Inspiration

    Robots used in institutions were either only functional or social, or required programming skills from caregivers. We decided to bridge the gap and to develop SARA by doing what we know best: innovation with data at its core.

  • Unique selling points

    SARA requires no programming and is user friendly. It incorporates meaningful interactions specifically tailored to the care needs and capabilities of the clients, including entertainment programmes, gymnastics therapy, or brain games. SARA is also connected to an analytical platform that helps keep track of the wellbeing of clients and their progress through a period of illness. Interactions and content can easily be tailored toward the needs of the client.

  • Societal impact

    SARA contributes to a healthier aging society. It has been adopted by five institutions so far, where she has demonstrated her value in the following areas: fun at work, workload of professionals and wellbeing of the clients. SARA contributes specifically to the 3rd UN Sustainable Development Goal: Good Health & Wellbeing.

  • EIT Community support

    The EIT Community helped us identify the need throughout Europe, shape our goals and set up the product in a sustainable manner. It also provided us with many great questions, feedback, and suggestions.


The Nominee

  • The beginning

    My background is in cognitive psychology and systems design, with a strong interest in data science. I looked for ways to combine these fields and develop robotic solutions which allow for integration and collaboration between humans and technology with great ergonomics, user experience, accessibility, functionality, and insight by data.

  • Partnerships & Teamwork

    TU Berlin helped with data modelling and analysis and adjusting robot responses based on machine learning principles. Curamatik worked on personality data and recognition, plus GDPR compliance. Forum Virium provided hardware. Bright Cape is the business champion and activity leader, responsible for project management, business development, content, software and algorithms development, as well as testing. GIM provided the robot base platform and software development.

  • Rewarding moments

    One-on-one-talks with our customers are the most rewarding, as well as client testimonials. We are at our happiest when SARA brings a smile to them and adds functional value to the healthcare institutions.

The EIT Community helped us identify the need throughout Europe, shape our goals and set up the product in a sustainable manner.