From visuospatial cognition to robotic manipulation through exploration
ABSTRACT of the TALK
Nowadays, robots are expected to enter in various application scenarios and interact with unknown and dynamically changing environments. This highlights the need for creating autonomous robot behaviours to explore such environments, identify their characteristics and adapt, and build knowledge for future interactions. To respond to this need, in this talk I will present the IIT/HRI2 lab’s recent work on the integration of visual perception and manipulation to achieve a context-aware and adaptive interaction between the robot and uncertain environments. The core of our framework is a self-tuning impedance controller that regulates robot quasi-static parameters, i.e., stiffness and damping, based on the robot sensory data and vision. The tuning of the parameters is achieved only in the direction(s) of interaction or movement, by distinguishing expected interactions from external disturbances. A vision module is developed to recognize the environmental characteristics and to associate them to the previously/newly identified interaction parameters, with the robot always being able to adapt to the new changes or unexpected situations. This enables a faster robot adaptability, starting from better initial interaction parameters.
Arash Ajoudani is a tenured senior scientist at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), where he leads the Human-Robot Interfaces and physical Interaction (HRI²) laboratory. He received his PhD degree in Robotics and Automation from University of Pisa and IIT in July 2014. His PhD thesis was a finalist for the Georges Giralt PhD award 2015 - best European PhD thesis in robotics.
He is a recipient of the European Research Council (ERC) starting grant 2019. He was a winner of the Amazon Research Awards 2019, the winner of the Solution Award 2019 (Premio Innovazione Robotica at MECSPE2019), the winner of the KUKA Innovation Award 2018, the winner of the Werob best poster award 2018, a finalist for the best conference paper award at Humanoids 2018, a finalist for the best interactive paper award at Humanoids 2016, a finalist for the best oral presentation award at Automatica (SIDRA) 2014, the winner of the best student paper award and a finalist for the best conference paper award at ROBIO 2013, and a finalist for the best manipulation paper award at ICRA 2012.
He is the coordinator of the Horizon-2020 project SOPHIA with a consortium of 12 partners from the leading European research and industrial organisations. He has contributed to several successful European projects (H2020 and FP7) such as WALKMAN, WearHap, SOMA, and SoftPro.
He is the author of the book "Transferring Human Impedance Regulation Skills to Robots" in the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics (STAR), and several publications in journals, international conferences, and book chapters. He is currently serving as the executive manager of the IEEE-RAS Young Reviewers' Program (YRP), and as chair and representative of the IEEE-RAS Young Professionals Committee. He has been serving as a member of scientific advisory committee and as an associate editor for several international journals and conferences such as IEEE RAL, Biorob, ICORR, etc. His main research interests are in physical human-robot interaction and cooperation, robotic manipulation, robust and adaptive control, assistive robotics, and tele-robotics.
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