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Centre for Service and Interaction Robotics (CoSIR)

Prof. dr. Stefano Stramigioli, Prof. dr. Vanessa Evers, Dr. Jan Broenink

‘Our goal is to have a UT Robot Zone operational’


The Centre of Service & Interaction Robotics (CoSIR) deals with research on design and use of robots that physically interact with their environment, and people in those environments. This means a transition from classical / industrial robots to service & interaction robots. This implies different shifts in paradigms: from stiff & precise movements to mechanical and social compliant robots; from high-speed operation to low speed operation; from structured, well-known environment to unstructured, unknown environments that change continuously; from robot “hard” skills to “soft” communication skills: and from robots isolated behind cages to freely interacting robots.

Scientific Challenges

This transition demands for refocusing activities in robot research resulting in scientific challenges:

1.Human-robot interaction design:
Realise a seamless and natural interaction between people and robots in real world environments such schools, museums, hospitals and public places.

2.Robot design for service activities:
Realize physically compliant, safe, energy-efficient robots that show natural compliant flexible behaviour in any unstructured environments.

Research Agenda

The CoSIR research agenda is focussed on the following themes:

  1. Research methods to investigate real-world use of robot prototypes;
  2. Novel design of service robots;
  3. Philosophical, social and ethical aspects of human-robot interaction.

For the short term, this implies:

1.Experimental setups and experiments dealing with human-robot interaction, first in the lab, later in "Robot Zones": designated 'normal' areas with specific facilities and regulations to enable these experiments. The Robot Zones will be on UT Campus, outside regular labs.
On human-robotic interaction design, and on embodied learning and cognition.

2.Design methods and developing prototypes exploring new solutions to robots and robot components, both physical hardware and software. These prototypes can support the needs for service robotics. Most notably, on the physical interaction of robots with their environment. Here, both the constituting disciplines (control, interaction, software, mechanical, ergonomics) as well as the overall systems-engineering / mechatronics approach are involved.

3.Philosophical, ethical, legal, and social issues dealing with experiments with Service Robotics, when introducing service robotics in daily life.

Our goal at 5 years from now is to have a UT Robot Zone operational, in which several service robots are active, offering meaningful services like guiding visitors and distributing letters and small parcels. Furthermore, also service robots are active in other contexts, like home, health and safety.

Core researchers

Robotics and Mechatronics (RAM)  
Prof. dr. Stefano Stramigioli - Advanced Robotics
Dr. Jan Broenink - Cyber-Physical Systems & Systems Engineering

Human Media Interaction (HMI)
Prof. dr. Vanessa Evers - Human-Robot Interaction

Cognitive Psychology & Ergonomics (CPE)  
Prof. dr. Frank v.d. Velde - Cognition and Robotics

Philosophy (Phil)  
Prof. dr. Philip Brey - Ethics
Prof. dr. Peter-Paul Verbeek - Philosophy

Other UT research groups, not part of CTIT

Biomechanical Engineering
Herman vd Kooij   validation Robotics

Mechanical Automation and Mechatronics
Just Herder, Dennis Brouwer - Mechanical Design

Design, Production and Management  
Maarten Bonnema - Systems Engineering