Aiding the IND with NAO_

Project Overview

Nao is an humanoid robot, meaning it has human-like features. We investigate if Nao can be used in IND intake interviews to reduce waiting times of assylum seekers.

Tools used



Social Robotics


Fay Beening
Jikke van den Ende
Tobias Maätita
Melle Meewis
Fried Schölvinck
Xandra vos

01 Problem

Problem setting

The big influx of refugees has led to big waiting lists for the appliance for asylum. Most times there exists a language barrier, with many asylum seekers not being able to speak English, let alone Dutch. This means many interpreters are needed, who are not always directly available. Because of this, as well as the long asylum procedure, it could take up to two years for the asylum seeker to receive their final answer whether they can stay in the Netherlands. Asylum seekers can experience this long procedure as traumatising.

02 NAO


Nao is an humanoid robot, meaning it has human-like features. Nao is a friendly robot aimed at establishing comfort with its user. This comfort Nao has is important in these interviews as delicate subjects are discussed. Nao is interpreted as trustworthy by using gestures and talking in a relatively fluent manner.

The fact that the conversation with the asylum seeker is conducted by a robot instead of a person could possibly be an extra advantage regarding the possibility to discuss private matters. It could be that asylum seekers feel less shame towards robots when talking about uncomfortable topics than towards people.


03 Design


Kinetics: Nao will not move very ecstatic because it is a serious conversation and the asylum seekers want to have the feeling he/she is taken seriously. That is why Nao only uses the “say animated” function but will have no further kinetics.

Proxemics: According to Hall’s zones, the proxemics will be intimate because the asylum seeker and the robot should be 25-50 cm away from each other for the robot to understand the what the asylum seeker says.

Haptics: The haptics will be limited because the immigration services employee will start up the robot and after that, the asylum seeker will talk to him/her but they will not touch each other. The reason for this, is that there is no additional function to use haptics.

Chronemics: The tempo of human interaction can vary because it depends on the asylum seeker. However, Nao will always speak calmly to keep the asylum seeker as comfortable as possible

04 Experimental Design

Experimental Design

The participants of the present experiment will be students impersonating asylum seekers. The results we get from this will be different than when it would be done with real asylum seekers, but since this could unequivocally be a life-changing interview for them, we choose to first perform a pilot study on a test population.

The conducted experiment was a user study with five participants. They acted as the asylum seeker and had a conversation with NAO. In this conversation, NAO asked all the relevant questions regarding a fictitious asylum application.

The results show that having a conversation with NAO in the context of an IND intake interview could be possible; in four out of five of the interviews the NAO extracted al the relevant information correctly. In only one interview a mistake made when collection regarding the method of entrance into The Netherlands.

Test personas

Test set-up

05 Conclusion


We can conclude that NAO can be deployed for a simple first interview to document general information about the asylum seeker. Further development, both on social robotics as well as on this specific subject, is necessary to be able to create a robot that can help the Immigration Service and speed up the asylum application process.

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