Our societies undergo a dramatic demographic change as the number of elderly and people requiring support in their daily life is steadily increasing. On a different front, the digital revolution creates scores of technologically illiterate people, mostly middle-aged and elderly, who are excluded from a vast array of electronic services and benefits. Socially interactive robots can help families and caregivers, by physically assisting people and functioning as a companion. Robots may also adopt the role of a friendly tutor for people who want to partake in the electronic feast and they don’t know where to start. The increasing sales figures of robots point towards a trend break for robotics. To lower costs for developers and increase their interest in developing robotic applications, RAPP, a new research project funded by the European Commission through its FP7 programme, introduces the idea of robots as platforms. The RAPP project will provide an open-source software platform to support the creation and delivery of robotic applications (RApps), which, in turn, are expected to increase the versatility and utility of robots. The emphasis of this project will be on applications that will enable robots to understand and respond to the intentions and needs of people at risk of exclusion, especially the elderly. The RAPP project, over its three-year course, aspires to: • Provide an infrastructure for developers of robotic applications, so they can easily build and include machine learning and personalization techniques to their applications. • Create a repository, from which robots can download RApps and upload useful monitoring information. • Develop a methodology for knowledge representation and reasoning in robotics and automation, which will allow unambiguous knowledge transfer and reuse among groups of humans, robots, and other artificial systems. • Create RApps based on adaptation to individuals and taking into account the special needs of elderly people, while respecting their autonomy and privacy. • Validate this approach by deploying appropriate pilot cases to demonstrate the use of robots for health and motion monitoring, and for assisting technologically illiterate people or people with mild memory loss. The RAPP project can count on seven partners in five European countries (Greece, France, United Kingdom, Spain and Poland), including research institutes, industries and SMEs. The RAPP consortium brings together pioneers in the fields of Assistive Robotics, Machine Learning and Data Analysis, Motion Planning and Image Recognition, Software Development and Integration, and Excluded People - all eager to take on the technical and social challenges set in the project. The RAPP project will help to enable and promote the adoption of small home robots and service robots as companions to our lives. RAPP partners are committed to identify the best ways to train and adapt robots to serve and assist people with special needs. Eventually, our aspired success will be to open and widen a new ‘inclusion market’ segment in Europe.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Spain, Finland, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom