R & D Activities

Research and development activities at CVRL address the following fundamental questions in an effort to arrive at robust solutions to corresponding theoretical, computational, and design problems.

Perceptual capabilities:

What is the maximum information that a robot can extract by sensing its environment? More importantly, what is the actual information that a robot needs to extract from its environment in order to exhibit certain desired and possibly intelligent behaviors?

Robot behaviors and sensory-motor coordination:

How should perceptual capabilities and control strategies be combined to obtain the desired robot behaviors? How should the characteristics of the environment and the mechanical properties of a robot be taken into account in this process?

Learning:

How can a robot acquire skills in a developmental manner, through interaction with its environment? How can a robot accumulate experience, thus improving its acquired skills?

Current Research Projects and Networks  |   Past Research Projects and Networks

Current Research Projects and Networks

  • Virtual Multimodal Museum (http://vi-mm.eu)
    Period:2016/10/01 - 2019/03/31
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission Horizon-2020
    Objectives:
    The project proposes a major, high-impact Coordination Support Action (CSA) across the field of Virtual Museums (VM), within the overall context of European policy and practice on Virtual Cultural Heritage (VCH). VIMM aims to define and support high quality policies, strategic and day-to day decision making, the utilisation of breakthrough technological developments such as VR/AR and to nurture an evidence-based view of growth and development impacted by VM, supported by a set of case studies in culturally-rich regions of South Europe affected by economic recession. The key objectives of VIMM are: (a) Analyse and promote the role of VM as a strategic resource for Europe with cultural, social, environmental and economic value; (b) Broaden and intensify discussion among CH stakeholders and work towards necessary levels of consensus on key technical, legal and policy areas important for the goals and principles of VM; (c) Define, develop and promote a unique sustainable platform engaging a large number of EU CH stakeholders across the whole community concerned with VM; (d) Identify and improve awareness of the potential impacts of VM and develop understanding of the economic and social benefits and ways in which these can in reality be derived; (e) Articulate communication and consultation with European and international organisations, in order to stimulate consultations concerning future policy dialogues and mutual learning exercises and studies, including design studies for new infrastructures in the area of VCH and VM applications. (f) Define and demonstrate the various functions and approaches of VM based on latest innovations and advances in the state-of-the-art in VR/AR, why different audiences need them to understand and interact with European CH, why and how VM are necessary to support the accessibility, conservation, use and re-use of CH.

  • WEARHAP - Wearable Haptics for Humans and Robots
    Period:2013/03 - 2017/02
    Funding agencies:
    FP7-ICT-2011-9 (Integrated Project)
    Objectives:
    The complexity of the world around us is creating a demand for cognition-enabled interfaces that will simplify and enhance the way we interact with the environment. Project WEARHAP, aims at laying the scientific and technological foundations for wearable haptics, a novel concept for the systematic exploration of haptics in advanced cognitive systems and robotics that will redefine the way humans will cooperate with robots. The challenge of this new paradigm stems from the need for wearability which is a key element for natural interaction. This paradigm shift will enable novel forms of human intention recognition through haptic signals and novel forms of communication and cooperation between humans and robots. Wearable haptics will enable robots to observe humans during natural interaction with their shared environment. Research challenges are ambitious and cross traditional boundaries between robotics, cognitive science and neuroscience. Research findings derived from distributed robotics, biomechanical modeling, multisensory tracking, underaction in control and cognitive systems will be integrated to address the scientific and technological challenges imposed in creating effective wearable haptic interaction. To highlight the enabling nature, the versatility and the potential for industrial exploitation of WEARHAP, the research challenges will be guided by representative application scenarios. These applications cover robotics, health and social scenarios, stretching from human-robot interaction and cooperation for search and rescue, to human-human communication, and interaction with virtual worlds through interactive games.

  • ITN-DCH - Initial Training Networks for Digital Cultural Heritage: Projecting our Past to the Future
    Period:2013 - 2017
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission FP7-ITN, Research Executive Agency, Initial Training Network (ITN)
    Objectives:
    The project aims to analyze, design, research, develop and validate an innovative multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral research training framework that covers the whole lifecycle of digital CH research for a cost–effective preservation, documentation, protection and presentation of Cultural Heritage (CH). ITN-DCH targets innovations that covers all aspects of CH ranging from tangible (books, newspapers, images, drawings, manuscripts, uniforms, maps, artefacts, archaeological sites, monuments) to intangible content (e.g., music, performing arts, folklore, theatrical performances) and their inter-relationships. The project aims to boost the added value of CH assets by re-using them in real application environments (protection of CH, education, tourism industry, advertising, fashion, films, music, publishing, video games and TV) through research on (i) new personalized, interactive, mixed and augmented reality enabled e-services, (ii) new recommendations in data acquisition, (iii) new forms of representations (3D/4D) of both tangible /intangible assets and (iv) interoperable metadata forms that allow easy data exchange and archiving.

  • Co4Robots - Achieving Complex Collaborative Missions via Decentralized Control and Coordination of Interacting Robots
    Period:1/1/2017-31/12/2019
    Funding agencies:
    H2020
    Objectives:
    Within Co4Robots, our goal is to build: A systematic real-time decentralized methodology to accomplish complex mission specifications given to a team of potentially heterogeneous robots, A set of control schemes appropriate for the mobility and manipulation capabilities of the considered robotic platforms, their types and dynamics, the unexpected and sudden changes in the environment, as well as the presence of humans, A set of perceptual capabilities that enable robots to localize themselves and estimate the state of their highly dynamic environment, in the presence of strong interactions and in a collaborative manner, and Their corresponding systematic integration at both the conceptual and the software implementation levels.

  • ACANTO - ACANTO: A CyberphysicAl social NeTwOrk using robot friends
    Period:01/02/2015-31/07/2018
    Funding agencies:
    H2020

  • RAPID - Heterogeneous Secure Multi-level Remote Acceleration Service for Low-Power Integrated Systems and Devices
    Period:01/01/2015-31/12/2017
    Funding agencies:
    H2020
    Objectives:
    Many low-power devices such as smartphones, tablets, notebooks as well as several other embedded systems can't always cope with the increased demand for processing power, memory and storage required by modern applications in gaming, vision, security, robotics, aerospace, etc. As a result, most such applications are only executed on high-end servers. RAPID tackles this challenge by taking advantage of high-performance accelerators and high-bandwidth networks. Following our approach, compute or storage intensive tasks are seamlessly offloaded from the low-power devices to more powerful heterogeneous accelerators, supporting multiple virtual CPUs and GPUs. We propose, for the first time, a secure unified model where almost any device or infrastructure, ranging from smartphone, notebook, laptop and desktop to private and public cloud can operate as an accelerated entity and/or as an accelerator serving other less powerful devices in a secure way. RAPID offers a registration mechanism, which permits the accelerated entities to automatically find and connect to nearby accelerators with the required resources. Next, a runtime system, running on each such accelerated entity, takes into account several parameters such as the local status, the environmental conditions, the task requirements, and the status of the accelerators it is connected to in order to decide whether local tasks (or incoming tasks if the entity also acts as an accelerator) should be executed locally or remotely. Novel scheduling algorithms, admission control policies, Service Level Agreements and license policies are employed to serve multiple accelerated applications efficiently on heterogeneous cloud infrastructures.

  • Robotic Assistant for MCI Patients at home - Robotic Assistant for MCI Patients at home
    Period:01/01/2015-31/12/2017
    Funding agencies:
    H2020
    Objectives:
    RAMCIP -Robotic Assistant for MCI Patients at home- aims to research and develop real robotic solutions for assistive robotics for the elderly and those suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairments and dementia. This is a key step to developing a wide range of assistive technologies. We will adopt existing technologies from the robotics community, fuse those with user-centred design activities and practical validation, trying to create a step-change in robotics for assisted living.

  • TimeStorm - Mind and Time – Investigation of the temporal attributes of human-machine synergetic interaction
    Period:01/01/2015-30/06/2018
    Funding agencies:
    European Union’s Horizon 2020
    Objectives:
    Contemporary research endeavours aim at equipping artificial systems with human-like cognitive skills, in an attempt to promote their intelligence beyond repetitive task accomplishment. However, despite the crucial role that the sense of time has in human cognition, both in perception and action, the capacity of artificial agents to experience the flow of time remains largely unexplored. The inability of existing systems to perceive time constrains their potential understanding of the inherent temporal characteristics of the dynamic world, which in turn acts as an obstacle to their symbiosis with humans. Time perception is without doubt, not an optional extra, but a necessity for the development of truly autonomous, cognitive machines. TimeStorm aims at bridging this fundamental gap by shifting the focus of human-machine confluence to the temporal, short- and long-term aspects of symbiotic interaction. The integrative pursuit of research and technological developments in time perception will contribute significantly to ongoing efforts in deciphering the relevant brain circuitry and will also give rise to innovative implementations of artifacts with profoundly enhanced cognitive capacities. Equipping artificial agents with temporal cognition establishes a new framework for the investigation and integration of knowing, doing, and being in artificial systems. The proposed research will study the principles of time processing in the human brain and their replication in-silico, adopting a multidisciplinary research approach that involves developmental studies, brain imaging, computational modelling and embodied experiments. By investigating artificial temporal cognition, TimeStorm inaugurates a novel research field in cognitive systems with the potential to contribute to the advent of next generation intelligent systems, significantly promoting the seamless integration of artificial agents in human societies.

 

Past Research Projects and Networks

  • BioLegRob - Biomimetic Legged Robots Operating in Rough Environments
    Period:2012/07 – 2015/09
    Funding agencies:
    National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) – General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Ministry of Education THALES program (Mis: 379424)
    Objectives:
    Although legged robots have the potential to outperform wheeled machines in rough environments, they are subject to complex motion planing and control challenges and to balance-in-motion constraints. The aim of this research program is the integration of such capabilities into autonomous and dependable legged robotic systems through the development of novel designs and control methods, with emphasis on efficient locomotion. To reach our goals, our teams working with humans, animals, legged robots, crawlers and humanoids will cooperate employing an interdisciplinary approach. The expected results include: (a) an autonomous quadruped robot with multi-jointed legs and articulated body that can achieve fast and stable gaits through uneven terrains, (b) a multi-legged robot with flexible elements capable of robust locomotion through uneven terrains with its body in full ground contact, (c) the development of control algorithms for humanoids employing upper and lower limb coordination for stable gaits through uneven terrains, (d) a comprehensive study of the control and stability methods of humans and animals during locomotion through uneven terrains.

  • HYDRO-ROB - Hydrodynamic investigation of aquatic locomotion with respect to elongated, biologically-inspired robotic devices
    Period:2012/03 – 2015/03
    Funding agencies:
    European Social Fund (ESF) – General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Ministry of Education [Project PE7(281)]
    Objectives:
    The project concerns a hydrodynamic analysis of aquatic locomotion, focusing on the predominant modes of lateral undulation (or anguilliform swimming) and arm swimming, to complement the design of biologically-inspired robotic devices. The main hypothesis supported is that various forms of aquatic locomotion produce vortex formations that can be exploited by marine animals and, hence, possibly by robotic analogues aiming to move in aquatic environments or emulate biological movements. Within the appropriate physiological scales and fluid properties, we utilize computational fluid dynamic techniques on time-varying geometries, performing prescribed motions that reflect biological aquatic locomotion. Within the finite-volume and immersed boundary methods framework, we investigate implementations for medium or extreme deformations, ensuring stability and accuracy of transient motion results. This study attempts to contribute towards novel robot-design methodologies in relation to system morphology and associated control strategies. This multidisciplinary perspective will help elucidate the hydrodynamics underlying aquatic locomotion and contribute to the development of challenging robotic devices.

  • RoboHow - Web-enabled and Experience-based Cognitive Robots that Learn Complex Everyday Manipulation Tasks
    Period:2012/02 - 2016/01
    Funding agencies:
    FP7-288533 (Integrated Project)
    Objectives:
    Robohow is a four-year European research project that started in February 2012. It aims at enabling robots to competently perform everyday human-scale manipulation activities - both in human working and living environments. In order to achieve this goal, Robohow pursues a knowledge-enabled and plan-based approach to robot programming and control. The vision of the project is that of a cognitive robot that autonomously performs complex everyday manipulation tasks and extends its repertoire of such by acquiring new skills using web-enabled and experience-based learning as well as by observing humans.

  • DALi - Devices for Assisted Living
    Period:2011/11 - 2014/11
    Funding agencies:
    FP7-288917 (STREP)
    Objectives:
    The DALi project has undertaken a challenging agenda aimed at extending the people autonomous life beyond the home. The environment where the system operates is partially known (due to its large variability) and changing. Our assisted living device system must therefore acquire dynamic information about the user’s immediate environment in order to guide its decision-making. The construction of a system of such complexity represents a major scientific and technological effort bringing together expertise across different disciplines. We can coarsely identify three principal areas where the effort of DALi’s research team has introduced innovation.

  • HOBBIT - The Mutual Care Robot
    Period:2011/11 - 2014/11
    Funding agencies:
    FP7-288146 (STREP)
    Objectives:
    Within the HOBBIT project we set out to study a future robot that will make older persons feel safe at home. It will pick up objects from the floor, can learn objects and bring objects, and it is equipped with easy-to-use entertainment functions. You will have tools to stay socially connected, keep active with playing games and exercise, and enjoy your time checking out now films, music and books. And certainly, the HOBBIT will detect emergency situations and trigger an appropriate alarm. The focus of HOBBIT is the development of the mutual care concept: building a relationship between the human and the robot in which both take care for each other. Like when a person learns what an animal understands and can do; similar to building a bond with a pet. The main task of the robot is fall prevention and detection. To achieve this, the robot will clean the floor from all objects and thus reduce the risk of falling. It will detect emergency situations such that help can be called in time. The purpose of the Mutual Care approach is to increase the acceptance of the home robot.

  • DARWIN - Dextrous Assembler Robot Working with Embodied Intelligence
    Period:2011/02 – 2015/01
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission in FP7 ICT under Grant No. 270138
    Objectives:
    The project aims at developing robotic technology that will be able to assemble objects from their constituent parts. The sequence of operations needed, during the assembly process, will be provided by an executive process in the robotic agent. The executive process will accommodate a wide spectrum of requirements and constraints of the general assembly problem. On the one end of the spectrum, it will allow for CAD-CAM systems, used in industrial manufacturing, to provide the detailed sequence of instructions while at the other end it will support stand-alone operation in cases where external knowledge cannot be provided. In this mode the robot will be able to use previous knowledge of tools and assembly strategies, acquired by "playing" with the tools and the objects in question and using mental simulation capabilities in order to "imagine" the outcome of decisions during the assembly process. In addition to trial and error learning mode the robot will also support learning by observation of another agent assembling the same object. Finally a third learning mode will be supported where a series of snapshots of the object-to-be-assembled will be provided and from these the robot will discover by itself the necessary sequence through reasoning

  • JAMES - Joint Action for Multimodal Embodied Social Systems
    Period:2011 - 2014
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission FP7, Collaborative Project, Information and Communication Technology, ICT-2009.2.1
    Objectives:
    JAMES aims to develop a socially intelligent humanoid robot combining efficient task-based behaviour with the ability to understand and respond in a socially appropriate manner to a wide range of multimodal communicative signals in the context of realistic, open-ended, multi-party interactions. Research in JAMES, focuses on five core objectives: (1) analysing natural human communicative signals, (2) building a model of social interaction, (3) extending the model to manage learning and uncertainty, (4) implementing the model on a physical robot platform, and (5) evaluating the implemented system.

  • hifi-PRINTER - high fidelity PResence and INTERaction: convergence of computer graphics, vision and robotics for improving human-robot and human-computer interaction
    Period:2011 - 2014
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission FP7-PEOPLE, Research Executive Agency, Intra-European Fellowship (IEF)
    Objectives:
    The aim of this project is the convergence of the most essential high-fidelity presence and interaction computer graphics and vision enabling technologies forimproving human-computer and human-robot interaction in virtual as well as in augmented reality environments,involving novel virtual characters and humanoids. Both these human embodiments are very active research fields and recently their basic simulation technologies (face, body, behavior) started being applied from one domain (virtual) to the other (robotic). The proposed framework will be based on Geometric Algebra aiming to avoid previous different, disjoint geometric graphics techniques by unifying these heterogeneous character simulation technologies to allow for their seamless abstraction and application in their humanoid robotic counterparts.

  • FIRST-MM - Flexible Skill Acquisition and Intuitive Robot Tasking for Mobile Manipulation in the Real World
    Period:2010 - 2013
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission FP7, Collaborative Project, Information and Communication Technology, ICT-2009.2.1
    Objectives:
    The project aims to build the basis for a new generation of autonomous mobile manipulation robots that can flexibly be instructed to perform complex manipulation and transportation tasks. The project will develop a novel robot programming environment that allows even non-expert users to specify complex manipulation tasks in real-world environments. In addition to a task specification language, the environment includes concepts for probabilistic inference and for learning manipulation skills from demonstration and from experience. The project will build upon and extend recent results in robot programming, navigation, manipulation, perception, learning by instruction, and statistical relational learning to develop advanced technology for mobile manipulation robots that can flexibly be instructed even by non-expert users to perform challenging manipulation tasks in real-world environments, designed to autonomously navigate in urban environments outdoors as well as in shopping malls and shops to provide various services to users including guidance, delivery, and transportation.

  • OCTOPUS - Novel Design Principles and Technologies for a New Generation of High Dexterity Soft-bodied Robots Inspired by the Morphology and Behaviour of the Octopus
    Period:2009/02 – 2013/07
    Funding agencies:
    European Union FP7 ICT Future & Emerging Technology (FET) program (Grant agreement no. ICT-231608)
    Objectives:
    OCTOPUS aims at investigating and understanding the principles that give rise to the octopus sensory-motor capabilities and at incorporating them in new design approaches and technologies for building physically embodied, soft-bodied, hyper-redundant, dextrous artefacts. To this purpose, a robotic artefact will be built in OCTOPUS that can locomote in water over a variety of terrains, explore narrow spaces, grasp objects and manipulate them effectively. The grand challenge that this IP will pursue is the design and development of the ICT and robotics technologies allowing the building of an embodied artefact, based broadly on the anatomy of an octopus, and with similar performance in water, in terms of dexterity, speed, control, flexibility, and applicability.

  • GRASP - Emergence of Cognitive Grasping through Introspection, Emulation and Surprise
    Period:2008/03 – 2012/02
    Funding agencies:
    FP7-215821 (Integrated Project)
    Objectives:
    The aim of GRASP is the design of a cognitive system capable of performing grasping and manipulation tasks in open-ended environments, dealing with novelty, uncertainty and unforeseen situations. GRASP will develop means for robotic systems to reason about graspable targets, to explore and investigate their physical properties and finally to make artificial hands grasp any object. To meet these objectives, we will use theoretical, computational and experimental studies to model skilled sensorimotor behaviour based on known principles governing grasping and manipulation tasks performed by humans. As widely recognised, to design and evaluate such a complex system, we need to integrate computational techniques from machine learning, computer vision, control theory and signal processing together with experimental frameworks that include real robotic and simulation tools that allow for a long-term, experimental control over sensory inputs and tasks. Hence, the objective of GRASP is to integrate findings from disciplines such as neuroscience, cognitive science, robotics, multimodal perception and machine learning to achieve a core cognitive capability: Grasping any object by building up relations between task setting, embodied hand actions, object attributes, and contextual knowledge such that learnt grasps are extendable toward new, never seen objects in new situations.

  • INDIGO - Interaction with Personality and Dialogue Enabled Robots
    Period:2007 - 2009
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission FP6, Specific Targeted Research Project, IST-2005-2.6.1
    Objectives:
    INDIGO aims to develop a new generation of intelligent mobile robotic systems that will operate and serve tasks in every-day environments addressing their interaction with humans. Unlike any related previous research project, the emphasis in the INDIGO sys-tem will be on advancing human-robot communication. This will be achieved both by perceiving and understanding human behavior, and by interpreting and expressing robot actions in a human-oriented way.

  • VECTOR - Versatile Endoscopic Capsule for gastrointestinal TumOr Recognition and therapy
    Period:2006/09 – 2011/06
    Funding agencies:
    European Union FP6 IST program (Contract no. IST-033970)
    Objectives:
    The project pursues the goal of realizing smart pill technologies and applications for gastrointestinal (GI) diagnosis and therapy. Cancers of the digestive tract are among the most significant killers in developed countries, with colon cancer ranging among the top 10 causes of death for both genders, male and female. If the disease is detected at the stage of pre-malignancy, local therapy, such as tissue resection or destruction, can be used to eradicate the disease before malignant transformation and the onset of invasive cancer. The overall medical goal of the project is to enable medical devices through advanced technology that can dramatically improve early detection and treatment of GI early cancers and cancer precursors. The main technological objective of the project is to innovate microsystems components, micro-robotic technologies and sensor devices for novel applications in the medical field. The primary market goal of the project is to provide ground-breaking technology leads and platform technologies to European biomedical companies for future conversion into competitive novel products. This shall support the European biomedical industry in the international medical device market and help build up a franchise in the booming sector of cancer prevention, early diagnosis and treatment technologies. The structure of the project is focused on the creation of technology platforms based on the medical requirements. These technology platforms will be leveraged in two ways. First and primarily, they will be used to realize smart capsules in different versions, dedicated to the different medical needs. Second, the platforms will be used to create derivative devices, not necessarily capsules, but endoscopic medical devices using the technologies created in the project.

  • MATHESIS - Observational Learning in Cognitive Agents
    Period:2006 - 2009
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission FP6, Specific Targeted Research Project, IST-2004-2.4.8
    Objectives:
    The MATHESIS project aims to explore fundamental aspects of social communication and adaptive behavior, especially the process of assigning meaning to the actions of other subjects. This will be demonstrated by developing and validating artificial cognitive agents, primarily robotic ones, able to acquire a repertory of motor actions by observational learning. Observational learning is understood here as the capacity to acquire an action strategy only through observation of other agents, without the experimentation needed in other learning procedures. Neurophysiological investigations will attempt to establish that the neural representations of action-execution, action-observation and action-recall overlap extensively within the cortex, as suggested by our preliminary results. A major implication of this, both for biological and for artificial agents, is that it should be possible to train their motor system by simple action-observation and action-recall, as in the traditional use of observational learning and mental training (e.g., the use of videotapes to train athletes). The MATHESIS project will assess the generality, scalability, accuracy and robustness of such cognitive architectures. Furthermore, it will establish the developmental stage at which observational learning can be used efficiently in infants and children.

  • XENIOS - Human-robot interaction using speech processing, natural language generation, and computer vision
    Period:2006 - 2007
    Funding agencies:
    General Secretariat of Research and Technology-Ministry of Development
    Objectives:
    Project XENIOS aims at the development of a user-robot interaction system, based on understanding of visual input, speech processing and natural language generation. The developed system will be used to facilitate interaction of tour-guide robots with on-site as well as web-visitors of museums and exhibition areas.

  • BIOLOCH - BIO-mimetic structures for LOComotion in the Human body
    Period:2002/05 – 2005/10
    Funding agencies:
    European Union FP5 IST FET program (Contract no. IST-2001-34181)
    Objectives:
    The objective of the project is to understand motion and perception systems of lower animal forms and to design and fabricate mini- and micro-machines inspired by such biological systems. The long term goal of the project is to develop an entirely new generation of autonomous smart machines able to interact with the environment in a life-like way and with performance comparable to those of the animals by which they are inspired. These bio-inspired machines may lead to many useful applications in various fields related to the "inspection" problem: for example in medicine and, in particular, in microendoscopy. The bio-like machines will be not only designed, but also fabricated, according to a biomimetic approach which merges sensing and actuation capabilities, by exploiting hybrid manufacturing techniques, high integration of active materials and sensors, and embedded low level control.

  • DRIVER - Integrated System for Assistive Navigation of Robotic Wheelchair Platforms
    Period:1999/06 - 2000/11
    Funding agencies:
    General Secretariat for Research and Technology, Greece, Programme for People with Special Needs (EPET-AMEA)
    Objectives:
    DRIVER aims to help people with special needs to navigate an electric wheel chair. For this purpose, the navigational capabilities of robotic wheel chairs will be properly enhanced to allow semi-autonomous navigation. The user controls the navigation proccess and determines the destination. The resulted system will be secure, user-friendly and easily adaptive to the current robotic wheel chairs. Thus, the DRIVER"s main goal is the development, evaluation and assessment of a navigational support system that could be used as an add-on module on robotic wheel chairs.

  • NAVIGATOR - Robot Navigation in Unknown Environments Using Visual Information
    Period:1996/01 - 1997/12
    Funding agencies:
    General Secretariat for Research and Technology, Greece
    Objectives:
    NAVIGATOR addresses issues of robot navigation in partially unknown environments. It employs landmarks as well as spatial relationships between them for space perception and localization purposes. The system"s knowledge of the environment is specified from the contents of a visual memory, which contains a large number of patterns corresponding to landmark descriptions known to the system. The visual recognition of landmarks, using a set of qualitative descriptors, in conjunction with the visual memory, facilitates navigation without the need of environment maps and beacons, used in traditional approaches.

  • Vision-based Robot Navigation Research Network
    Period: 3 years
    Funding agencies:
    Training and Mobility of Researchers (Research Networks), DG XII
    Objectives:
    The goal of the VIRGO network is to coordinate European research and postgraduate training activities that address the development of intelligent robotic systems able to navigate in (partially) unknown and possibly changing environments. This goal will be achieved through a framework which enhances RTD activities in European laboratories, already established in the aforementioned scientific area. Specifically, in pursuing this goal, alternative environment representations based on visual information will be studied and methods to process these representations and use them to control the motion of the mechanical parts of a robot will be developed. The VIRGO network consortium consists of ten organisations from eight European countries: FORTH (network coordinator), AUC, DIST, TUG, KTH, U-BONN, INRIA, GMD, DIKU, U-ZURICH.

  • TACIT - Theory and Applications of Continuous Interaction Techniques
    Period: 3 years
    Funding agencies:
    Training and Mobility of Researchers (Research Networks), DG XII
    Objectives:
    The aim of the TACIT network is the development of a Theory of Continuous Interaction Techniques. These techniques comprise interaction between human and computer by means of gestures, speech and body expression recognition. The theory is developed within a multi-disciplinary setting encompassing different perspectives and disciplines such as computer science, linguistics, cognitive psychology and semiotics. It aims at the development of a unified and integrated body of knowledge enabling and facilitating the application of a combination of existing and novel interaction techniques that are expected to be required in a new generation of interfaces around the year 2010. The theory will be applied to a number of selected scenarios and assessed by means of both experimental techniques and formal validation. The scenarios are selected with particular attention to the industry"s view of potential markets and the likely timeliness required for the development of the technologies. The industrial view is taken care of by means of the close links between the participating organisations and industry within joint research projects.

  • DIVAN - Distributed audio-Visual Archives Network

  • ARHON - Multimedia System for Archival, Annotation and Retrieval of Historical Documents
    Objectives:
    ARHON pursues the development of a multimedia system for the archival and retrieval of historical documents. Such documents are acquired and stored as image patterns; they are annotated using a semantic indexing system which facilitates their retrieval using semantic information. Since these documents are dated back a few centuries, their visual appearance is degraded; image processing techniques are therefore employed to restore them to an acceptable quality.

  • NEMESIS - New Multimedia Services using Analysis Synthesis
    Objectives:
    The NEMESIS project targets the applications of professional digital video post-production and new multimedia editing. This project relies on a new powerful content-based image sequence representation scheme to make possible the use of cutting edge image analysis tools in the domain of multimedia contents production. NEMESIS proposes to integrate and to develop automatic image analysis/synthesis techniques providing a set of objects (e.g. regions, layers and 3D objects over time), from sequences of monocular natural images. The NEMESIS project will develop a coherent software platform allowing new functionnalities for image sequence manipulation outperforming existing post-production tools.

  • PRIME - Prediction of Congestion and Incidents in Real Time For Intelligent Incident Management and Emergency Traffic Management
    Funding agencies:
    EU-IST Programme DG-XIII
    Objectives:
    PRIME aims to improve road safety on motorways and adjacent urban networks by increasing the effectiveness of incident detection and incident management through the development of innovative methods. The project will build on recent achievements in the management of incidents and road emergencies in related EU projects, particularly IN-RESPONSE, and will enhance the complete incident and road emergency management chain. The innovative methods include improvements in the dynamic prediction, detection, and verification of incidents. These provide benefits to the traffic management controller and facilitate the integration of high-level technologies now reaching the marketplace. The new methods also address the integration of motorway and urban incident management technologies which leads to improved overall incident management and safety. A prototype will be developed including databases, models and algorithms to be tested off-line (using data collected from three EU sites) and on-line (using data from two EU sites). Evaluation will include separate testing of each prototype module, (detection, prediction and verification) and a simulation tool will evaluate the system components.

  • TOURBOT - Interactive Museum Tele-presence Through Robotic Avatars
    Funding agencies:
    EU-IST Programme DG-XIII
    Objectives:
    The goal of TOURBOT is the development of an interactive tour-guide robot able to provide individual access to museums" exhibits and cultural heritage over the Internet. TOURBOT operates as the user"s avatar in the museum by accepting command over the web that direct it to move in its workspace and visit specific exhibits; besides, TOURBOT can also act as a flexible, on-site museum-guide.

  • Lifeplus
    Objectives:
    LIFEPLUS proposes an innovative 3D reconstruction of ancient frescos-paintings through the real-time revival of their fauna and flora, featuring groups of virtual animated characters with artificial life dramaturgical behaviours, in an immersive AR environment. In greater detail LIFEPLUS objectives are:

    • Real-time realistic virtual life in AR environments.
    • Automatic Real-time Camera Tracking in unknown environments.
    • Design of successful character based installations.
    • Expressive autonomous cinematography for interactive Virtual Environments.
    Although initially targeted at Cultural Heritage Centres, the paradigm is by no means limited to such subjects, but encompasses all types of future Location-Based Entertainments, E-visitor Attractions as well as on-set visualisations for the TV/movie industry.

  • WebFair - Web Access to Commercial Fairs Through Mobile Agents
    Objectives:
    WebFAIR addresses the marketing and promotion requirements of large commercial exhibitions by providing broad access to information, services and commodities exhibited at the event. Essentially, WebFAIR aims at providing the means to remote corporate and private users for active and personalised workplace exploration and information visualisation for commercial purposes.

    The goal of the proposed project is the development and validation of an interactive tele-presence system (WebFAIR) based on mobile robotic systems, able to provide individual access to large exhibitions and commercial trade-fairs over the World-Wide Web. The user observes through the "eyes" (cameras) of the robot and hears though its "ears" (microphones). Through a Web-interface, users all over the world will be able to tele-control the robotic avatar and specify exhibits, or interesting places that they may wish to visit.

  • ActiPret - Interpreting and Understanding Activities of Expert Operators for Teaching and Education
    Objectives:
    The objective of ActIPret is to develope a cognitive vision methodology that interprets and records the activities of people handling tools. Focus is on active observation and interpretation of activities, on parsing the sequences into constituent behaviour elements, and on extracting the essential activities and their functional dependence. By providing this functionality ActIPret will enable observation of experts executing intricate tasks such as repairing machines and maintaining plants. The expert activities are interpreted and stored using natural language expressions in an activity plan. The activity plan is an indexed manual in the form of 3D reconstructed scenes, which can be replayed at any time and location to many users using Augmented Reality equipment.

  • MultiSens - Cameras as Multifunctional Sensors for Automated Processes
    Funding agencies:
    EC 6th Framework research program: Co-operative Research Project
    Objectives:
    Goal of the project is the development of a ""smart"" camera for process control and fault detection in automation. The camera will take the role of several sensors and thus reduce the setup time for machines substantially. Two prototypes will be developed that are targeted at low-speed (40ms) as well as high-speed (1ms) applications.

    In most automatic assembly machines a large number of (sometimes expensive) sensors are used to check whether the machine is still operating correctly or to avoid collisions. A typical situation is that a sensor has to make sure that a gripper is retracted, before the handled object moves on to the next station. The setup of these sensors and programming of the right timing in a PLC (programmable logic controller) program is a very time consuming process. Within the project a camera system will be developed that will help the 135000 SMEs in the European mechanical engineering industry in building their machines.

    The proposed device is essentially a camera which is combined with a processing unit and will be able to visually interpret image sequences of automated processes, report malfunctions and deviations in the process and assist the task of programming the right sequence of events. Within this project there are two SMEs working in the field of integrated camera-processor systems (ProDesign, GER and Analogic Computers, HU). They will add this device to their range of products and benefit directly from the results of this project. Three SMEs from various fields of mechanical engineering (Hage Sondermaschinenbau, automation for automotive industry, Austria; Hajek-Engineering, food processing and packaging machines, Austria and Hochrainer, assembly automation, Germany) will provide a wide range of different automated processes upon which the developments will be based. The researchers (Profactor, Austria; FORTH, Greece; MTA-SZTAKI, Hungary) will develop the algorithms and basic methods for the interpretation of image-sequences and online fault detection.

  • GNOSYS - An Abstraction Architecture for Cognitive Agents
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission FP6
    Unit E5: Cognitive Systems
    Specific Targeted Research or Innovation Project (STREP)
    Objectives:
    The project"s vision is to develop an architecture for cognitive agents and to validate it in a robotic embodiment in an unknown outdoors environment. The architecture will include major building blocks found in human cognitive processes and it will integrate the cycle of perception-knowledge acquisition-abstraction-reasoning-action generation. Knowledge acquisition will be supported by a suitable concept system with a corresponding abstraction mechanism. The concept system is the representation of the knowledge that the agent possesses of its environment and itself. Objects, relations, goals, context information, and solution strategies are considered as knowledge about a situation. The abstraction mechanism is responsible for creating and organising a hierarchy of concepts while the reasoning process operates on the concept system in order to make inferences for virtual actions and select the one that will realise the greatest reward. The architecture will include attention control as a means of handling complexity, prioritising responses, detecting novelty and creating new goals. Both sensory and motor attention will be used. A goals-oriented computational model will allow the fusion together of user tasks with tasks originating from the agent. A goals generation system will enable the agent to produce its own goals. Reinforcement learning will provide the means by which the agent learns solution strategies for the satisfaction of a goal. The loop closes by having new actions modifying the current knowledge through perception. The architecture will be implemented in a robotics application, namely of robot navigation in unknown outdoors environment but it will be in no way specific to this domain. Different outdoors environments will be used for testing.

  • RECOVER - Photorealistic 3D Reconstruction of Perspective Paintings and Pictures
    Funding agencies:
    EC 6th Framework research program: Co-operative Research Project
    Objectives:
    RECOVER aims to develop a system for the semi-automatic extraction of three-dimensional (3D) models of scenes depicted in perspective paintings. 3D models of paintings constitute a new and exciting way for the general public to experience and appreciate fine art. The viewer can experience a feeling of immersion; paintings are no longer perceived as static artefacts from a long-gone past but as living, vibrant entities. With the aid of appropriate software, the viewer can literally dive into the painting, interacting with it and observing it from various viewpoints in impressive walk-throughs and inspiring fly-bys. This enables non-specialists to step into history and experience the scene in the space and time frame perceived by the artist. Ultimately, the viewing of paintings becomes a more appealing, exploratory endeavour, arousing the public"s interest in fine art and cultural heritage in general.

  • MUSCLE - Network of Excellence (Multimedia Understanding through Semantics, Computation and Learning)
    Funding agencies:
    European Commission FP6
    Unit E2 : Knowledge Management and Content Creation
    Objectives:
    MUSCLE aims at creating and supporting a pan-European Network of Excellence to foster close collaboration between research groups in multimedia datamining on the one hand and machine learning on the other in order to make breakthrough progress towards the following objectives: (b) Harnessing the full potential of machine learning and cross-modal interaction for the (semi-) automatic generation of metadata with high semantic content for multimedia documents; (b) Applying machine learning for the creation of expressive, context-aware, self-learning, and human-centered interfaces that will be able to effectively assist users in the exploration of complex and rich multimedia content; (c) Improving interoperability and exchangeability of heterogeneous and distributed (meta)data by enabling data descriptions of high semantic content (e.g. ontologies, MPEG7 and XML schemata) and inference schemes that can reason about these at the appropriate levels. (d) Through dissemination, training and industrial liaison, contribute to the distribution and uptake of the technology by relevant end-users such as industry, education, and the service sector. In particular, close interactions with other IP"s and NOE"s in this and related activity fields are planned. (e) Through accomplishing the above, MUSCLE will facilitate the broad and democratic access to information and knowledge for all European citizens (e.g. e-Education, enriched cultural heritage).

 

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