LIREC (LIving with Robots and intEractive Companions) is a FP7 Integrated European project. Principal Investigator of the UH team is Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahn. Research staff include Dr. Kheng Lee Koay, Dr. Michael L. Walters, Dr. Wan Ching Ho, Dr. Mohammadreza Asghari Oskoei, Dag S. Syrdal and PhD students Kyron Du Casse and Fotios Papadopoulos. The project goal is to develop “user-friendly” companion technology, and the UH research team focuses on the development of robotics technology that can assist people in their home environment. For this reason we must carry out the research in a “real home” since laboratory conditions are often too “artificial”. We use the “Robot House” for our studies – an environment for autonomous companion robots enhanced by a sensor network (PhD research of Patrick Neuberger). We study three scenarios: physical assistance, cognitive prosthetic and social mediator. The latter includes human-robot remote communication in a patient-therapist setting, PhD research by Mike Bowler supervised by Dr. Farshid Amirabdollahian.
ROBOSKIN (Skin-Based Technologies and Capabilities for Safe, Autonomous and Interactive Robots) is a FP7 STREP European project. Principal Investigator of the UH team is Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahn, other academics involved at UH are Dr. Farshid Amirabdollahian and Dr. Daniel Polani. Research staff include Dr. Ben Robins and Dr. Ze Ji. The UH research team investigates how the KASPAR humanoid robot (previously developed at UH), equipped with skin patches that detect touch, can contribute to robot assisted therapy for children with autism. We also develop algorithms for the detection of different types of touch with the long-term goal to be able to teach children with autism about socially “appropriate” tactile interaction with a robot and ultimately with people.
The IROMEC project (Interactive Robotic Social Mediators as Companions), an FP6 STREP European project, developed the IROMEC robot – a robot that is meant to help children who cannot play. Play is an important vehicle for learning, development and social relationships, and so the robot was deliberated designed to be playful. Our target user groups included children with cognitive, physical and developmental impairments. The UH team focussed on the user group of children with autism. Principal Investigator of the UH team was Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahn, the research team also included Dr. Ben Robins and Ester Ferrari. Links to youtube videos produced by the UNISI partner in Italy:
PhD student Qiming Shen has been investigating if and how people react to the behaviour of a humanoid robot which is performing either congruent or incongruent behaviour. In one experiment, motor coordination was measured using an information-distance method. In addition to the humanoid KASPAR robot (http://kaspar.stca.herts.ac.uk/) a moving dot and a pendulum were presented as other stimuli. Results showed that people responded overall more to a robot when we triggered the belief that the robot was a “social entity”. The results suggests that in addition to bottom-up effects where robot’s appearance and behaviour influence people’s behaviour in human-robot interaction, this effect is modulated by a top-down effect of people’s beliefs of the robot in terms of social presence. The results have been published in IEEE TAMD. This work has been supervised by Prof. Kerstin Dautenhahn (Principal Supervisor) as well as Dr. Hatice Kose-Bagci and Dr. Joe Saunders.
ITALK is a 4 year project (2008–2012) funded by the European Commission.
The project aims to develop artificial embodied agents able to acquire complex behavioural, cognitive, and linguistic skills through individual and social learning. This will be achieved through experiments with the iCub humanoid robot learning to handle and manipulate objects and tools autonomously, to cooperate and communicate with other robots and humans, and to adapt to changing internal, environmental, and social conditions.
Cognitive Robot Companion - Framework VI funded IST-FET project (2004-2008). The overall objectives of this project were to study the perceptual, representational, reasoning and learning capabilities of embodied robots in human centred environments. The project focused on developing methods and technologies for the construction of such cognitive robots, able to evolve and grow their capacities in close interaction with humans in an open-ended fashion.
HUMAINE, Human-Machine Interaction Network on Emotion - Framework 6 Network of Excellence (start 1 Jan 2004, 4-year project). HUMAINE aims to lay the foundations for European development of systems that can register, model and/or influence human emotional and emotion-related states and processes - 'emotion-oriented systems'. Such systems may be central to future interfaces, but their conceptual underpinnings are not sufficiently advanced to be sure of their real potential or the best way to develop them.
ELVIS, E-Learning with Virtual Interactive Synthetic Characters - European ASIA IT&C project (start March 2003, 2-year project)
Memory-based Interaction in Autonomous Social Robots (Nuffield Foundation)