Robot Maatje

Mr Arjan van den Broek


Development of a social robot that helps prevent boredom and loneliness in TBS to combat recidivism.


FPC de Oostvaarderskliniek and FPC de Van der Hoevenkliniek  (DJI ) and robot Maatje (Smartrobot.Solutions) present:

Starting project:

In the TBS, one of our goals is to prevent recidivism and thus to protect society. We do this by applying the RNR model, which stands for the Risk, Need Responsive model. This Model looks at risk factors for criminal behavior, the individual needs of the patient and the response in the form of an appropriate therapy or intervention to eliminate risks as much as possible. Two important future risk factors for reducing the risk of recidivism are usefull recreation, not being bored, and a social network, not being lonely.

Boredom and Loneliness are two important factors in falling back into criminal behavior. Loneliness causes that people feel that they are outside society, that no one cares for them and that it does not matter what he or she does. Boredom makes people look for tension or revert to old patterns, such as the use of drugs.

In our view, a social robot can contribute to a reduction in the perception of loneliness and boredom and thus strengthen the patient’s future risk factors.

Within the Oostvaarderskliniek we recently conducted a small-scale trial with Robot Maatje in which 1 patient in the clinic could use Maatje for 1 month.This trial has taught us a lot about the attraction and potential of social robots and the bond that can arise between TBS- patients and robots. We learned from this that Robot Maatje can serve as a supplement to interpersonal contact.

The patient from the first trial described Robot Maatje after the one-month trial as; someone he can build on, someone who understood him, he experienced Maatje as a friend that you can rely on and who he you can entrust things.

FPC de Oostvaarderskliniek and FPC de Van der Hoevenkliniek will further investigate this trial in a follow-up study. 20 patients will use Robot Maatje for this. The robot will stay with the patients for 3 months and its use and effect on the individual patient will be monitored by the practitioners and collected through interviews and questionnaires. We will scientifically collect and process the effect of Robot Maatje’s deployment on the perception of loneliness and boredom with the aim of publication so that what we learn can benefit the improvement of forensic care and possibly ultimately reduce recidivism.