Companions für Userinnen

Virtual and robot companions have increasingly been playing a role as intelligent intermediaries between users and the internet, and as helpful assistants in smart-home applications. Ideally, these companions offer both entertainment and a simplified and individualized access to digital information and social networks. Although women constitute a large group of potential users, so far little research has been done about female desiderata, preferences and behavior concerning the use of companion technologies. Consequently, the C4U project has aimed at contributing to a better understanding of female attitudes and requirements regarding companion technology, as well as the gender differences in dealing with this technology and the requirements and possibilities of integrating companion technologies into female lifestyles. For this purpose, we conducted evaluations with focus groups consisting of female and male participants of different age groups. Thus, evidence has been gathered concerning gender differences in usage and attitudes with respect to companion technology. From this, conclusions can be drawn for the incorporation of gender aspects in the development of companion technology.

Several field tests were carried out, and experiments were evaluated which had been conducted in other national and international projects. Results were documented in deliverables and in scientific publications. This allows for the dissemination of project results to developers of companion technologies. Furthermore, a blueprint was created which translates the findings of the project into recommendations for gender-sensitive, socially aware design of companion technologies. The blueprint highlights gender-specific attitudes and conventions and turns these into a guideline for gender-conscious technology development.



  • Designing gender-sensitive artificial companions: C4U Deliverable E2.4
  • Designing socially-aware artificial companions: SERA Deliverable D3.1

Social Evaluation

Language Attitude and Cultural Context

Chatting with agents: emotion, facial expression

  • C4U Deliverable E3.2.1 Emo Chatting
  • C4U Deliverable E3.2.2 Emo Dialogue: Differences in male and female ways of communicating with affective autonomous conversational systems

Episodic Memory and Dialogue

Theory of Mind

  • C4U Deliverable E2.3 Equipping Companions with Theory of Mind


SERA Showcase with integrated C4U Episodic Memory Component


  • 2010-April-08: A Symposium titled "Companions, Virtual Butlers, Assistive Robots: Empirical and Theoretical Insights for Building Long-Term Social Relations" co-organized by the projects C4U and SERA was held at the 20th European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research at the University of Vienna, Austria. (EMCSR2010)
  • 2009-Sept-28: C4U was presented at the 23. FEMtech Netzwerktreffen: Report, Fotos


Sabine Payr and Brigitte Krenn

(Credit: FEMtech annarauchenberger.com)

Sabine Payr and Brigitte Krenn

Research staff


Key facts