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robots

SPRING’s mission

In the past five years, social robots have been introduced into public spaces, such as museums, airports, commercial malls, banks, company show rooms, hospitals, and retirement homes, to mention a few examples. In addition to classical robotic skills such as navigation, grasping and manipulating objects, i.e. physical interactions, social robots must be able to communicate with people in the most natural way, i.e. cognitive interactions.

SPRING’s research question: in order to properly fulfil social roles and successfully execute social tasks, how to create robots able to move, see, hear and communicate with several actors, in complex and unstructured populated spaces.

Nevertheless, today’s Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) technology is not well-suited to fulfil these needs. Indeed, SARs that are currently available suffer from two main bottlenecks: (i) they are limited to a handful of simple scenarios which leads to (ii) SARs not being well accepted by a large percentage of users such as elderly adults. These limitations are largely due to the fact that both their hardware and supporting software have been designed for reactive single-user interaction mostly based on keyword spotting where the robot waits to be instructed what to do based on a limited set of scripted actions. Overcoming these limitations raises difficult scientific and technological challenges with tremendous social impact and economic value.

SPRING’s overall objective: to develop Socially Assistive Robots with the capacity of performing multi-person interactions and open-domain dialogue

Strategic objective 1 – To enable robust robot perception in complex, unstructured and populated environments

Strategic objective 2 – To enable sensor-based (data-driven) and knowledge-based robot actions for multi-modal multiperson
interaction and communication

Strategic objective 3 – Validate the technology based on the needs of gerontological healthcare

SPRING’s objectives

This will require new developments over several scientific topics, namely computer vision, audio signal processing, spoken dialogue, machine learning, and robotics, as well as inter-topic developments, such as human behaviour analysis, audio-visual fusion, multi-modal dialogue, sensorimotor robot control. Altogether, SPRING plans to achieve a fine coupling between scientific findings and technological developments to bring social robots into gerontological healthcare:

SPRING partners

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE RECHERCHE EN INFORMATIQUE ET AUTOMATIQUE (INRIA),
Grenoble, France

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI TRENTO (UNITN),
Trento, Italy

CESKE VYSOKE UCENI TECHNICKE V PRAZE (CVUT),
Prague, Czechia

HERIOT-WATT UNIVERSITY (HWU),
Edinburgh, United Kingdom

BAR ILAN UNIVERSITY (BIU),
Ramat Gan, Israel

ERM AUTOMATISMES INDUSTRIELS (ERM),
Carpentras, France

PAL ROBOTICS SL (PAL),
Barcelona, Spain

ASSISTANCE PUBLIQUE HOPITAUX DE PARIS (AP-HP),
Paris, France

Find out more about the consortium

People involved (alphabetical order)

Angus Addlesee
Angus AddleseeHWU
Research Associate
Conversational AI
Xavier Alameda-Pineda
Xavier Alameda-PinedaINRIA
Project PI & Research Scientist
RobotlearnTeam
Soraya Arias
Soraya AriasINRIA
Research Engineer
Perception Team
Federica Arrigoni
Federica ArrigoniUNITN
Assistant Professor
Alexandre Auternaud
Alexandre AuternaudINRIA
Software Engineer
Perception Team
Anand Ballou
Anand BallouINRIA
PhD Student
Perception Team