Project AMM54

CATLYP: Connecting All the Lonely People

CATLYP performs an initial evaluation of whether the transmission of so-called living noise between households of older, lonely UK adults can incentivize communication and lower loneliness.
The living noise is envisaged to be transmitted by a network of social robots.


AgeUK estimates that by the year 2026, more than 2 million older adults may experience loneliness if no inroads are made in tackling this social problem. Apart from lowering a person’s quality of life, there are also indications that it has a significant number of health-related knock-on effects. Loneliness appears to increase the odds of developing cardiovascular diseases, dementia, depression, and even suicidal ideation, thereby linking it to many adverse public health outcomes. Moreover, older people who experience high levels of loneliness and social isolation are at increased risk of becoming physically frail. With frailty comes greater health and social care costs, including increased hospital admissions, longer inpatient stays, and increased general practice consultations.

Previous work involving social robots with older adults to reduce loneliness concentrated mostly on the relationship between the lonely person and the social robot.
CATLYP builds up on early research undertaken in South Korea where, rather than substituting for human contact, the main aim of deploying a network of social robots is to incentivize and trigger human-human communication via the transmission of so-called living noise - discrete information about everyday activities such as cooking, watching TV, making a tea, etc - between participating households.

Project Aims

CATLYP aims to assess the potential of adoption of the transmission of living noise via social robots amongst older, lonely UK adults. CATLYP furthermore aims to gather insights into relevant factors that may help or impede the adoption of this technology amongst the target group within the UK.

Project Activity

Phase one of CATLYP consists of the organisation and running of a co-design workshop with lonely, older UK adults to obtain a first gauge of the potential of adoption of living noise concerning the target population.

Phase two of CATLYP will consist of the running of home trials with a mockup version of the proposed technology with a small number of participants to obtain deeper insights into the issues that might arise from the deployment of social robots and the transmission of living noise in people's homes.

Anticipated or actual outputs

The outcome of the early-stage project activities sketched above will be an initial insight into the potential for adoption of the proposed technology amongst older UK adults suffering from loneliness, and based on the input from a small number of participants. If the potential is assessed as sufficiently large, follow-up trials are planned with a larger number of participants accompanied by substantial technological development to gain a more comprehensive insight into its potential for reducing loneliness.

Who is involved? 

Frank Foerster (PI, corresponding), University of Hertfordshire
Krystal Warmoth (Co-I), University of Hertfordshire
Isaiah Durosaye (Co-I), Sheffield University
Chengzhi Peng (Co-I), Sheffield University
Oya Celiktutan Dikici (Co-I), King's College London
Catherine Menon (researcher), University of Hertfordshire
Vignesh Velmurugan (researcher), University of Hertfordshire
Yongjun Zheng (researcher), University of Hertfordshire