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ROBotic Open-architecture Technology for Cognition, Understanding and Behaviors

Project description

Cognitive systems A baby robot to teach and learn from

Robotic dogs, cats and even dinosaurs have tickled public interest in recent years, but what about a robot baby?

The iCub is a crawling, learning android the size of a two-year-old child. Yet it is no toy intended for tech-loving consumers.

The robot is a serious endeavour by international researchers working in the ROBOT-CUB project to investigate artificial cognition – the means by which robots can be made to understand and interact autonomously with the world around them.

The ROBOT-CUB researchers’ work should lead to more advanced robots able to assist and interact with humans, while at the same time helping to deepen our understanding of the cognitive functions of the human brain.

A test bed for research

The iCub is essentially an open test bed for the ROBOT-CUB partners and other researchers around the world to experiment on. With 53 degrees of freedom of movement, the iCub is able to crawl on all fours and sit up, move its head and eyes and use its hands to grasp objects. Cameras and sensors allow it to see, hear and touch.

The robot’s software brain can be made to learn from experience – by observing others and through trial and error, much as a young child does.

The researchers are teaching it to perform complex tasks, such as tracking an object across a room, navigating based on fixed objects around it, and predicting the consequences of how it interacts with an object – skills that humans learn naturally as children.

Available for free to all

The original team that developed the iCub are not alone in using it for research, however. By allowing other researchers around the world to use the robot and to develop their own for free, the ROBOT-CUB project is helping to spur new initiatives using the iCub as a base.

A competition for ideas run by the project partners in 2007 resulted in six research labs being given an iCub on which to experiment.

The new projects range from replicating the functions of certain neurons in the human brain in digital applications to programming the iCub to link verbal commands to physical objects.

The projects are being conducted by labs in Barcelona, London, Paris, Ankara, Munich and Lyon.

iCub’s software coding, along with technical drawings, are free to anyone who wishes to use them.

The software and hardware were designed using a modular system that allows large numbers of researchers to work independently on separate aspects of the robot.

Learning about ourselves

The ROBOT-CUB partners also note that work on artificial cognition in robots could help us better understand how the human brain functions, thanks to crossover research into robotics, psychology and neuroscience in recent years.

Call for proposal

FP6-2003-IST-2
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

IP - Integrated Project

Coordinator

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI GENOVA
Address
Via Balbi 5
16126 Genova
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 3 405 894

Participants (12)

ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FEDERALE DE LAUSANNE
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 599 866
Address
Batiment Ce 3316 Station 1
1015 Lausanne
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITAT ZURICH
Switzerland
EU contribution
€ 339 000
Address
Ramistrasse 71
8006 Zürich
Activity type
Other
FONDAZIONE EUROPEAN BRAIN RESEARCHINSTITUTE RITA LEVI

Participation ended

Italy
EU contribution
€ 0
Address
Via Regina Elena 295
00161 Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
SCUOLA SUPERIORE DI STUDI UNIVERSITARI E DI PERFEZIONAMENTO S ANNA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 729 000
Address
Piazza Martiri Della Liberta 33
56127 Pisa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
FONDAZIONE ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI TECNOLOGIA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 450 000
Address
Via Morego 30
16163 Genova
Activity type
Research Organisations
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI FERRARA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 523 000
Address
Via Ariosto 35
44121 Ferrara
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
TELEROBOT S.R.L
Italy
EU contribution
€ 348 960
Address
Via Al Molo Giano
16126 Genova
Activity type
Other
INSTITUTO SUPERIOR TECNICO
Portugal
EU contribution
€ 594 000
Address
Avenida Rovisco Pais 1
1049-001 Lisboa
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UPPSALA UNIVERSITET
Sweden
EU contribution
€ 420 000
Address
Von Kraemers Alle 4
751 05 Uppsala
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE HIGHER EDUCATION CORPORATION
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 451 280
Address
College Lane
AL10 9AB Hatfield
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE UNIVERSITY OF SALFORD

Participation ended

United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 535 026
Address
The Crescent 43
M5 4WT Salford
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 103 974
Address
Firth Court Western Bank
S10 2TN Sheffield
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments