Research Projects

Current projects:

DE-ENIGMA EU H2020 (RIA), Socially Assistive Robot for Children with ASD, 2016-2020, 3.6M€

TERESA EU FP7 STREP (PI), Telepresence Reinforcement-learning Social Agent, 2013-2016, 3M€

SQUIRREL EU FP7 IP (PI), Clearing clutter bit by bit, 2013-2017, 5M€

EASEL, EU FP7 STREP (PI),Expressive Agents for Symbiotic Education and Learning , 2013-2016 3M€

COMMIT P3, National Project: SENSEI,  motivational coach for amateur sports, 2013-1017,  2.5M€

SPENCER: FP7-ICT-9-2.1, Nr. 600877, Challenge 2: Cognitive Systems and Robotics

The title of the project is Social situation-aware PErception aNd action for CognitivE Robots. Motivated by the inceasing number of robots that share a space with people in domestic or professional domains, SPENCER will break new ground for cognitive systems in populated environments. While there is an increasing focus on making robots more socially aware, related approaches are still limited in their capacity to perceive, model and learn human social behavior and respond with appropriate actions in real-time from mobile platforms. SPENCER will systematically address these problems and advance the fields of perception of individual humans and groups in sensory data, normative human behavior learning and modeling, socially-aware mapping, and socially-aware task, motion and interaction planning under real-world conditions. In particular, by addressing these problems simultaneously in a multi- disciplinary project team, we will exploit synergies which will enable us to design safer, more efficient, and more robust cognitive systems in human environments.


Recent projects:

FROG: FP7-ICT-2011-7, Challenge 2: Cognitive Systems and Robotics

FROG proposes to develop a guide robot with a winning personality and behaviors that will engage tourists in a fun exploration of outdoor attractions. The work encompasses innovation in the areas of vision-based detection, robotics design and navigation, human-robot interaction, affective computing, intelligent agent architecture and dependable autonomous outdoor robot operation. The FROG robots’ fun personality and social visitor-guide behaviors aim to enhance the user experience. FROG’s behaviors will be designed based on the findings of systematic social behavioral studies of human interaction with robots. FROG adapts its behavior to the users through vision-based detection of human engagement and interest. Interactive augmented reality overlay capabilities in the body of the robot will enhance the visitor’s experience and increase knowledge transfer as information is offered through multi-sensory interaction. Gesture detection capabilities further allow the visitors to manipulate the augmented reality interface to explore specific interests. FROG plans to build a highly dependable robot that operates autonomously in populated outdoor real-world settings. New robust outdoor localization and navigation algorithms based on 6 DOF localization and SLAM will offer precise localization that is required for human-friendly navigation and optimal positioning of the robot’s augmented reality overlays. Moreover, robust, safety-critical, human-aware navigation algorithms will be developed, taking into account human interaction at all levels. The intelligent agent architecture is a platform that will allow the integration of low-level guidance and communication controls with high-level interaction generation including affective computing algorithms and contextual recognition. This approach will lead to the creation of a new generation of highly sophisticated autonomous outdoor robotic guide services. 230 k€

ACCOMPANY: ICT-2011.5.4 ICT for Ageing and Wellbeing

The proposed ACCOMPANY system will consist of a robotic companion as part of an intelligent environment, providing services to elderly users in a motivating and socially acceptable manner to facilitate independent living at home. The ACCOMPANY system will provide physical, cognitive and social assistance in everyday home tasks, and will contribute to the re-ablement of the user, i.e. assist the user in being able to carry out certain tasks on his/her own. Services to the user will be delivered through socially interactive, acceptable and empathic interaction, building on computational models of robot social cognition and interaction. The envisaged relationship of the user with the robot is that of a co-learner – robot and user providing mutual assistance for the user not to be dominated by the technology, but to be empowered, physically, cognitively and socially.
The project combines a multidisciplinary consortium to tackle the technological as well as human-centred and ethical challenges of the project. A state of the art service robot platform, Care-O-bot® 3 will be used in a wide range of user studies with elderly people to assess user requirements and user acceptance of the robot as part of an intelligent home environment that is able to recognise salient activities at home. The aesthetic and product-like design of the robot a particularly suitable starting point for its use as a home companion for elderly users. Results from user studies will then be fed back to adapt the technology so that it better suits user demands and preferences. Throughout the project such formative feedback results in different iterations of the ACCOMPANY prototypes.
The proposal addresses target outcome a) service and social robotics systems for “Ageing well” under objective ICT-2011.5.4 ICT for Ageing and Wellbeing. A major challenge concerning the development of service robots for the elderly is to enhance existing state of the art technologies and interfaces in order to facilitate independent living at home. Such multifaceted and multidisciplinary research activities include issues such as acceptability, safety, reliability, efficiency, robustness, and ethical considerations. A major challenge is to integrate and interface these different aspects of research in a usable and acceptable manner for independent living for the target population.
A dedicated showcase at UH (utilizing the “Robot House” as an existing infrastructure) will focus on technological integration efforts as well as user evaluation. User acceptance evaluation will take place at the UH Robot House as well as in two other test sites in HSZuyd and MADoPA. The use of three test sites in three different European countries (UK, the Netherlands, France) will ensure an extensive testing and evaluation process while addressing cultural differences in both elderly care and the attitudes of users towards the use of service robots in eldercare. The interdisciplinary consortium is complemented by robotics and human-robot interaction experts at Fraunhofer, UvA and UNSI.
The ACCOMPANY system will represent a novel technological solution to facilitate independent living at home for elderly users. In addition, ACCOMPANY will specify ethical guidelines for service robots for the elderly (partner UoB). The novel insights gained in the project will be made publicly available, and an open source policy will be pursued for software development in the project, thereby strengthening the European service robotics research and industry community. Finally, the target project outcomes will help to realize our underlying vision, namely that service robots in the context of an intelligent home environment, if firmly integrated in a user-centred and application-oriented agenda, has its place in the care of elderly and other user groups by being able to increase their independence, sense of being in control of their daily lives, and quality of life. The project’s work plan outlines how we intend to reach this ambitious goal. 350 k€

DHRS-CIM: Distributed Human-Robot System for Chemical Incident Management.

The overall aim of this project is knowledge exchange between industrial and academic organizations in the field of Disaster Management; working towards implementing / prototyping, an intelligent decision support system for humans to manage chemical incidents. This system can be described as a Distributed Human-Robot System for Chemical Incident Management (DHRS-CIM). 250k€.

SmartINSIDE Eureka/Eurostars project, Smartphones with Innovative Navigation Service for an unique InDoor Experience , 2010-2011, European Community, 126 k€.

Previous projects:

DIADEM Distributed information acquisition and decision-making for environmental management (EU FP7 2008-2011) (450k)

The Prime Objective of the Diadem project is to create an ICT system for collaborative decision making that effectively supports the protection of the population and the environment against chemical hazards in industrial areas.

MOCATOUR (2009-2012), Amsterdam Living Labs A Pieken in de Delta project. The  (Mobile Cultural access for tourists) project seeks to establish novel computational methods to facilitate tourists with contextualized and experience-based access to information while they freely explore a city. (450k)

ICIS Interactive Collaborative Information Systems (3024 BSIK project 2004-2009)

The aim of ICIS is to develop better techniques for making complex information systems more intelligent and supportive in decision making situations. The ICIS project combines information technology research and development with research in the human sciences and integrates the resulting knowledge and insights. Although the research results are generally applicable, ICIS focuses on two key applications domains: traffic management and crisis response.

CYBURG (2002, 2003). Digitale kenniswijk Cyburg, financed by the city council of Amsterdam and EU funds. In this project we evaluated cultural differences in requirements for e-government services in the multi-cultural city district Zeeburg.