Mar 21, 2013

Lirobia proof of concept

To address a growing demand for a new generation robotics and ambient intelligent evaluation platform, intended for non specialists willing to experiment uses and study business, content and technical models, Lirobia is developping a specific proof of concept. More information here...

Nov 10, 2008

From sympathy to skin imitation: Professor Minoru Asada's objectives

The first learning and communicating robots, such as Sony’s Aibo, interact by simple methods: sensors under the legs, one on the back, another one on the chest and a camera and a microphone which allow them to link a face and a voice to the signs of interest that they receive. Humans can understand robots by recognising the states of their expression indicators (diode colours, sounds issued, etc.). Using networks and computer data exchange, robots can also transmit their experience to one another. Physical actions from humans towards robots produce quick and almost certain effects: a pat on the chest links a criterion of kindness to the person they see, and a tap on a sensor is a message that the last action made was bad (there is a big margin of error due to the fact that the human being does not always know which programmes are running). This way, these machines learn and adapt their behaviour to the contexts in which they find themselves. The result is already remarkable, as the same robot that follows a mother’s voice in one environment, will follow a cat who is communicating to it in another. But the big markets that are aware of learning and communicating robotics cannot be satisfied by these vague approximations. In the medical sector, actions have to produce the same effect every time, interpretations must be definite and get as close as possible to a common language and frames of reference. A robot helping students in a dental surgery must be easily informed by grimaces of pain, be able to interpret gestures, provide warnings on the nearness of nerves. A robot responsible for finding victims in a collapsed building must know how to communicate so that neither human nor robot have to guess what to say or do, and sometimes without contact. Machines by different makers that are far away from human beings, on Mars, for example, will have to be able to speak to each other. These topics are the main focus of the research of Professor Minoru Asada, from the University of Osaka. He is convinced that robots must be as close as possible to human beings, so that interaction is as transparent as possible and that learning can take place by imitation, and studies, among other things, domains as varied as the expression of feelings, sympathy, and textures and reactions of the skin.

Jul 31, 2008

Collaboration and mutualisation, keys to intelligent robotics

The world is getting ready to take up one of the major human challenges, the harmonious development of intelligent robotics for applications as varied as health, aged and disabled assistance, space exploration and entertainment. Some of these challenges are familiar such as skin and touch or walking movement. Others will need to be invented such as ergonomics or robot language (to each other or with humans). These wide areas of exploration require numerous competencies and a universal culture that would be able to transcend the boundaries of human society and its organisations. Tomorrow, a French robot should be able understand its Japanese counterpart that it has never met.
As Professor Minoru Asada stresses, emphasises, whatever the size, one business cannot master all the development dimensions and the market launch of intelligent robotics on its own.
This blog, an initiative of IBPC Osaka, is a first step towards the meeting of its laboratories and facilities with European researchers.

Jul 27, 2008

RoboCup, far from football

Carried by Osaka’s researchers and French corporations such as Aldebaran, the RoboCup is one of the most significant events in communicating robotics and artificial-intelligence research. It would appear that for France and the rest of Europe, who are just beginning to gauge these key Asian industries, to organize a robot tournament would interest only technology fanatics. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
Let’s think about what it means to play soccer. The robot needs to assure autonomous functions and use its legs to run (the most difficult action for a biped), all the while following its objectives. It’s necessary for the robot to watch and keep the ball while taking into account the position of other players (teammates or opponents). It must communicate in real time with the others; it must learn, inform and teach; it must manage the third-party messages of the referee; decide, keep, shoot or pass.
Finally, if you add the ultimate objective, to beat a team of humans in 2050, it will be easy to understand that what the researchers of the world are looking at now is something quite different.
A robot able to attain precise objectives, either alone or in association with congénères or humans, can manage crises and unexpected situations. Accidents or natural disasters; medical supervision; the future of man in space: these are only a few possible fields of use. This shows there is phenomenal interest in the development of new-generation robotics. If you needed proof, surely that is it.
RoboCup 2009’s site...