Secure: Safety Enables Cooperation in Uncertain Robotic Environments

SECURE is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action funded by the European Commission. Its aim is to train roboticists and research fellows on the cognitive and interaction level of robot safety. These fellows should then be able to cope with the new challenges for safety that come with the increased complexity in human work and living spaces. They also need to be familiar with safety concepts and solutions for a multitude of robotic platforms. Therefore, the SECURE network aims to train fellows on innovative scientific and technological requirements for safe human-robot interaction and will employ several of the currently best robot platforms in Europe. The fellows are trained at six partner institutions in Europe and are supported by another five associated partners, ranging from large-scale international industrial partners to small enterprises, thus providing an optimal training environment for young researchers.


The Baby robot project


Our main goal is to create robots that analyze and track human behavior over time in the context of their surroundings (situational) using audio-visual monitoring in order to establish common ground and intention-reading capabilities. In BabyRobot we focus on the typically developing and autistic spectrum children user population. Children have unique communication skills, are quick and adaptive learners, eager to embrace new robotic technologies. This is especially relevant for special education where the development of social skills is delayed or never fully develops without intervention or therapy.




KASPAR (Kinesics and Synchronisation in Personal Assistant Robotics) is a child-sized, minimally expressive robot that has been developed by a team lead by Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahn within the Adaptive Systems research group. Since 2005 the robot has been used extensive in different research projects including Robotcub ( and ROBOSKIN ( and other research on cognitive or developmental robotics. A key use of the robot is for robot-assisted play for children with autism. We found that children with autism respond generally very positively towards interaction with the robot as a non-threatening, enjoyable, interactive toy that is programmable in order to suit the therapeutic needs of different children on the autistic spectrum. Links to youtube videos of KASPAR:




HRI-BioPsy is an abbreviation for the the above project title and is conducted at the Adaptive Systems Research Group, part of the University of Hertfordshire. HRI-BioPsy aims to shed more light on processes and factors that impact upon the "quality" or rapport of human-robot interaction. In the long run insights from this kind of research may contribute to a more principled understanding of what makes human-centric interaction work and, coversely, which kind or attributes of (robot) behaviour(s) will most likely lead to an interactional breakdown. This project is a follow-up of the Motor Interference and Motor Coordination in Human-Human Interaction project.


The AURORA Project


The Aurora project is a long-term project founded by Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahn with the aim to investigate the use of robots and other interactive technology in autism therapy. Our aim is not to replace human contact but to provide tools that can mediate between children and their social environment as a stepping stone towards the development of communication and social interaction skills. The project involves PhD students and research staff. The project is internally as well as externally funded. We have been using and evaluating different robots in the past, including mobile robots as well as humanoid robots. We currently focus our research on the humanoid KASPAR robot, a minimally expressive robot that seems very promising for use in autism therapy ( We also developed an interactive software called TouchStory to teach children with autism about narrative. Currently research in the project includes how to use KASPAR in order to teach children with autism collaborative skills (Josh Wainer PhD project), to investigate communication with and through KASPAR (Luke Wood PhD project), as well as Dr. Ben Robin’s work on KASPAR as a social mediator (part of the ROBOSKIN project,


2012 © Adaptive Systems Research Group

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