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Projects & Collaborations

SMOOTH project

The SMOOTH project aims at creating robots for the support of elderly people with a focus on making them interact seamlessly and robustly with their users. 

In Sønderborg, we investigate these aspects: 

  1.  persuasive dialog
  2.  the effects of responsivity of robot behavior
  3.  the role of incremental speech processing and synthesis

The project is funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark (2017-2020).

Improving Second Language Pedagogy at the Prosody-Grammar-Pragmatics Interface Using Human-Robot Interaction

This project aims to fill the gap regarding the teaching of prosody to second language (L2) learners. We analyze real conversation with conversation analytic (CA) methods in order to identify the prosodic features that are used by native speakers to fulfill certain communicative tasks. Once we have identified a linguistic feature as a candidate for a trouble source, we use Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) experiments to investigate communicative functions of that feature in a controllable way, by varying one feature at a time in the robots’ behavior, yet still embedding it in an interactional context. Listen to Ph.D. student Lars Christian Jensen talk about the project on Danish radio P4 and P1. 

What Makes a Robot a Good Learning Tool in Foreign Language Acquisition?

This Ph.D. project investigates how students can be motivated to tutor the robot in a foreign language-learning environment, first by conceptualizing the robot as a peer; second, by making the robot persuasive through manipulations of the robot’s dialog system on the lexical and phonetic level; and third, by making the robot a responsive social actor through the use of a system for contingent responses. The confounding factor in each of these investigations is the extent to which the manipulations affect a robot’s level of engagement. 

Collaboration with DTI and Mærsk-McKinney-Møller Institute on the Care-O-bot

In this collaboration we investigate among other things how a large service robot, such as the Care-O-bot should approach people, pass by people, apply politeness principles and how it can by utilizing several modalities in synchrony afford natural human-robot interactions. 

EU project IntellAct on industrial robot teleoperation for learning by demonstration in collaboration with the Mærsk-McKinney-Møller Institute in Odense

Programming by Demonstration (PbD), is a common way of programming new behaviours into robots and thus addresses “the problems
of skill and task transfer from human to robot, as a special way of knowledge transfer between man and machine”. Teaching a robot new behaviours in this way is time effective, intuitive and it can be done by naive users so that costs for expensive programming experts can be saved. In this collaboration we not only investigate the efficiency of different control modalities, but also develop new ones. 

Collaboration with Bielefeld & Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh on contingency in HRI

An important aspect of contingency is the temporal proximity between the user’s behavior and the robot’s
response. In this collaboration we investigate the degree to which robots that respond in contingent ways are perceived more intelligent, as more competent speakers, and as more engaging. Originally developed for the iCub robot the contingency  system was recently ported to work on the EZ-Robot. A demo video can be seen here.

Collaboration with University of Innsbruck

How do humans intuitively instruct an industrial robot in a collaborative assembly scenario? How can a robot's gaze be used to ensure smooth and robust human-robot interactions? These and other questions are addressed in our collaboration with the Intelligence and Interactive Systems lab and the University of Innsbruck, a short video of our work is on Facebook.

TRANSOR

The Research Network for Transdisciplinary Studies in Social Robotics (TRANSOR) is a platform for research exchange and joint Humanities research in social robotics, connecting researchers in philosophy, robotics, cognitive science, psychology, anthropology, educational science, linguistics, art and design studies, and communication and media studies.

ITALK

The ITALK project aims to develop artificial embodied agents able to acquire complex behavioural, cognitive, and linguistic skills through individual and social learning. This will be achieved through experiments with the iCub humanoid robot to learn to handle and manipulate objects and tools autonomously, to cooperate and communicate with other robots and humans, and to adapt to changing internal, environmental, and social conditions. More information about the project on the ITALK webpage.

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