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Cognitive Robotics Workshop @ IROS 2016

 

As organizers, we are glad to announce the Tenth International Cognitive Robotics Workshop (CogRob2016). This Workshop will take place at the 2016 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Daejeon, Korea.

This workshop aims to bring together researchers involved in all aspects of the theory and implementation of cognitive robots, to discuss current work and future directions. The workshop is concerned with foundational research questions on cognitive robotics, as well as robotic system design and robotic applications that utilize AI methods.

Research in robotics has traditionally emphasized low-level sensing and control tasks including sensory processing, path planning, and manipulator design and control. In contrast, research in cognitive robotics is concerned with endowing robots and software agents with higher level cognitive functions that enable them to reason, act and perceive in changing, incompletely known, and unpredictable environments. Such robots must, for example, be able to reason about goals, actions, when to perceive and what to look for, the cognitive states of other agents, time, collaborative task execution, etc. In short,  cognitive robotics is concerned with integrating reasoning, perception and action within a uniform theoretical and implementation framework.

The Cognitive Robotics Workshop is a prestigious workshop that has taken place every two years since its inception in 1998. For 2016 it is proposed to host a one-day workshop as part of IROS to foster stronger collaboration with the broader robotics community. This reflects an increasing focus on application areas, such as service robotics, that require the kind of sophisticated robotic capabilities associated with deliberation and high-level cognitive functions.

More information about dates, invited talks and submission will come soon.


euRathlon - TRADR Summer School

 

As partners of the EU-FP7-ICT-Project TRADR, we are glad to announce the euRathlon/TRADR Summer School 2016 on Heterogeneity in Robotics Systems. The Summer School will take place from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th August in Oulu, Finland, at the University of Oulu. The Workshop is organized jointly with the EU Horizon 2020 EURATHLON Project.

The summer school aims to provide the participants with both theoretical and practical insight in multi-domain real robotic systems for deployment in disaster response scenarios. The trend in this area is going towards multi-robot systems with different outfits, processing powers and operation spaces (ground, water, air) that shall be deployed over long periods and several sorties. This raises many challenges, including multi-modal heterogeneous mapping, semantic analysis and reasoning, (collaborative) planning under uncertainty. The summer school program will consist of lectures on these topics, and hands-on sessions during which the participants work on practical tasks using several robots with different sensory equipment.

We invite submissions which focus on topics of unmanned ground, air, sea vehicles and their combination on real systems. We are stressing real applications on:
- Learning in Complex Robotic Systems, Semantic Mapping.
- Multi-Modal Heterogeneous Mapping.
- (Collaborative) Planning Under Uncertainty, Integration of Mapping and Planning.

We welcome papers from non-competitors, if they are within the scope. We encourage especially young researchers to participate. There will be the possibility to earn study credits (doctoral or basic) from the summer school. Applications should be submitted via email in PDF format to Prof Juha Röning ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). All applicants must provide a free format letter (max. 2 pages) describing their research. Papers/posters are not compulsory for attending the summer school, but participants who have submitted a paper will have priority over participants who haven not submitted one. More information are available here.


SecondHands Project Team meeting

 

The SecondHands Project Team meeting has been held on January 25-26, 2016 at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.

The members of ALCOR and the other partners of the project have had the opportunity to meet and present the work done since the Kick off meeting, discussing about the integration and collaboration among partners and the deliverable tasks to be achieved.

An action plan for the first year review meeting has been decided with a detailed description of the operations that the robot must be able to perform. The partners have discussed about the most suitable planner, together with the knowledge representation, to be adopted and integrated within an improved version of the ArmarX platform, and the speech recognition system and dialog manager. The partners have argued maintenance tasks (specifically handovers requiring a detailed grasping pipeline) that the robot has to perform in collaboration with the operator and vision-based tasks for the 6D objects pose recovery, recognition and tracking.


ICCV 2015: Presentation of our papers Component-wise modeling of articulated objects and Bayesian non-parametric inference for manifold based MoCap representation

Presentation of our demo Interactive Action Recognition based on Motion Capture Data

 

The 2015 International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV 2015) is being held these days (December 11-18, 2015) in Santiago, Chile. The members of ALCOR Lab are presenting the papers Component-wise modeling of articulated objects and Bayesian non-parametric inference for manifold based MoCap representation and a live demo based on the latter work. The source code related to these works is available here. The paper abstracts are presented below.

Component-wise modeling of articulated objects

Abstract: We introduce a novel framework for modeling articulated objects based on the aspects of their components. By decomposing the object into components, we divide the problem in smaller modeling tasks. After obtaining 3D models for each component aspect by employing a shape deformation paradigm, we merge them together, forming the object components. The final model is obtained by assembling the components using an optimization scheme which fits the respective 3D models to the corresponding apparent contours in a reference pose. The results suggest that our approach can produce realistic 3D models of articulated objects in reasonable time.

 

Bayesian non-parametric inference for manifold based MoCap representation

Abstract: We propose a novel approach to human action recognition, with motion capture data (MoCap), based on grouping sub-body parts. By representing configurations of actions as manifolds, joint positions are mapped on a subspace via principal geodesic analysis. The reduced space is still highly informative and allows for classification based on a non-parametric Bayesian approach, generating behaviors for each sub-body part. Having partitioned the set of joints, poses relative to a sub-body part are exchangeable, given a specified prior and can elicit, in principle, infinite behaviors. The generation of these behaviors is specified by a Dirichlet process mixture. We show with several experiments that the recognition gives very promising results, outperforming methods requiring temporal alignment.




ALCOR@euRobotics Week

In the context of the 5th edition of the euRobotics Week, promoted by euRobotics AISBL - The European association for a Public-Private Partnership in robotics - ALCOR opens its robotics laboratory on November 25th 2015. ALCOR lab members will illustrate the research activities on perception, planning and control of an articulated tracked robot equipped with an anthropomorphic hand. This robot has been designed to assist responders in search and rescue interventions. You will also have the chance to see the Gaze Machine, a head mounted device, designed by us, which allows to estimate at each instant, where the person who wears it looks, in the 3D environment. The Gaze Machine is used in many research topics and scientific studies (e.g. computational attention, psychology, psychophysiology), medical diagnosis of various conditions and syndromes as well as Augmented Reality and Robotics. Moreover, ALCOR lab members will present how the Xsens MVN system functions, in order to capture and register human movements, by using the Motion Capture technology.


IROS 2015: Presentation of our papers Dynamic obstacles detection and 3D map updating and Rigid tool affordance matching points of regard.

TRADR stand at the exhibition of EU robotics projects

The 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2015) is being held these days (September 28 - October 2, 2015) in Hamburg, Germany . The members of ALCOR Lab are presenting the papers Dynamic obstacles detection and 3D map updating and Rigid tool affordance matching points of regard (Workshop "Learning Object Affordances: a fundamental step to allow prediction, planning and tool use?). The paper abstracts are presented below.

Dynamic obstacles detection and 3D map updating

Abstract: We present a real time method for updating a 3D map with dynamic obstacles detection. Moving obstacles are detected through ray-casting on spherical voxelization of point clouds. We evaluate the accuracy of this method on a point cloud dataset, suitably constructed for testing ray- surface intersection under relative motion conditions. Moreover, we show the benefits of the map updating in a real robot equipped with a rotating LIDAR system, navigating in real world scenarios, populated by moving people.

 

Rigid tool affordance matching points of regard

Abstract: In this abstract we briefly introduce the analysis of simple rigid object affordance by experimentally establishing the relation between the point of regard of subjects before grasping an object and the finger tip points of contact once the object is grasped. The analysis show that there is a strong relation between these data, in so justifying the hypothesis that people figures out how objects are afforded according to their functionality.

 

ALCOR Lab members are also participating in the TRADR stand at the exhibition of EU robotics projects at the IROS conference.


Seminar Thursday 10 September 2015 - Prof. Anthony Cohn - 17:30 Room A2

Title: Learning about activities, spatial relations and spatial language from video

Speaker: Prof. Anthony Cohn, University of Leeds

Abstract: In this talk I will present work undertaken at Leeds on building models of activity from video and other sensors, using both supervised and unsupervised techniques. The representations exploit qualitative spatio-temporal relations to provide symbolic models at a relatively high level of abstraction. I will discuss techniques for handling noise in the video data and I will also show how objects can be "functionally categorised" according to their spatio-temporal behaviour. Finally I will present very recent results on learning and grounding language from video-sentence pairs.


New TRADR video on YouTube - TRADR Joint Exercise (TJEx) 2015

 

 


RSS 2015 Workshop: Learning for Visual and Tactile Interaction. Presentation of our paper Dynamic contact sensing for articulated tracked vehicles.

The 2015 Robotics: Science and Systems Conference (RSS 2015) will be held between July 13 and 17, 2015 in Rome, Italy. The assistant professor and member of ALCOR Lab Mario Gianni will present the paper Dynamic contact sensing for articulated tracked vehicles , co-authored with Fiora Pirri and Manuel Ruiz, at the Workshop Learning for Visual and Tactile Interaction.


Seminar Friday 3 July 2015 - Prof. Michael Beetz - 12:00 Aula Magna

Title: openEASE --- A Knowledge Processing Service for Robots and Robotics Researchers

Speaker: Prof. Michael Beetz, Institute for Artificial Intelligence, University of Bremen, Germany

Description: Making future autonomous robots capable of accomplishing human-scale manipulation tasks requires us to equip them with knowledge and reasoning mechanisms. We propose openEASE, a remote knowledge representation and processing service that aims at facilitating these capabilities. openEASE provides its users with unprecedented access to knowledge of leading-edge autonomous robotic agents. It also provides the representational infrastructure to make inhomogeneous experience data from robots and human manipulation episodes semantically accessible, as well as a suite of software tools that enable researchers and robots to interpret, analyze, visualize, and learn from the experience data. Using openEASE users can retrieve the memorized experiences of manipulation episodes and ask queries regarding to what the robot saw, reasoned, and did as well as how the robot did it, why, and what effects it caused.


Seminar Thursday 2 July 2015 - Dr. Rocco De Rosa - 14:30 Room B101

Title: Action Recognition in Streaming Videos via Incremental Active Learning

Speaker: Dr. Rocco De Rosa

Description: In this talk, we introduce a novel incremental and active learning classification approach that can be used with any local or global set of feature descriptors extracted from a segmented video stream. Our system is nonparametric: it covers the feature space with classifiers that locally approximate the Bayes optimal classifier. We focus on streaming scenarios, in which our approach features incremental model updates and on-the-fly addition of new classes. Moreover, predictions are computed in time logarithmic in the model's size (which is typically fairly small), and active learning is used to save labeling costs. A ``constant budget'' variant is also presented to limit the grow of model size over time, as an appealing feature in real-time applications. We apply this methodology to human activity recognition tasks. Experiments on standard benchmarks show that our approach is competitive with state-of-the-art non-incremental methods, and outperforms the existing active incremental baselines.


Seminar Monday 22 June 2015 - Prof. Nicolò Cesa-Bianchi - 11:30 Room B203

Title: An algorithmic approach to nonparametric online learning

Speaker: Prof. Nicolò Cesa-Bianchi, University of Milan La Statale

Description: In this talk, we describe a general algorithmic approach to nonparametric learning in data streams. Our method covers the input space using simple classifiers that are locally trained. A good balance between model complexity and predictive accuracy is achieved by dynamically adapting the cover to the local complexity of the classification problem. For the simplest instance of our approach, we prove a theoretical performance guarantee against any Lipschitz classifier and without stochastic assumptions on the stream. Experiments on standard benchmarks complement the theoretical results, showing good performance even when the model size is kept independent of the stream length.


"Why a supermarket might be building the world's most exciting robot"

SecondHands on Wired UK

A very interesting article about our project SecondHands (EU Horizon 2020) was published on the website of the well-known international technology magazine Wired UK.

The article can be found here.


Call for participation: TRADR Summer School on Autonomous Micro Aerial Vehicles

TRADR is organizing a summer school in Birlinghoven Castle, Sankt Augustin, Germany on August 24 - August 28, 2015. The topic of this year's TRADR summer school is "Autonomous Micro Aerial Vehicles". The objective of the school is to give students deep insights into the currently leading approaches to 3D environment perception, mapping, navigation planning, and control of autonomous MAVs. Lectures by internationally leading experts will provide the necessary theoretical background for hands-on exercises with MAVs.

The call for participation can be found here.


Workshop on Challenges in 3D motion planning and control for articulated tracked robots in Urban Search & Rescue - Wednesday 3 June, 10:00, B203

Speakers: Arun Kumar Singh, Mario Gianni, Federico Ferri

Description: Articulated tracked robots are currently used in search and rescue, military, agricultural and planetary exploration applications, where terrain conditions are difficult and unpredictable. They are better suited for such tasks than wheeled vehicles due to the larger contact area of tracks with the ground, which provides better traction on harsh terrains. As such robots are deployed in dynamic, unstructured, and open environments, such as a disaster scenario, a key requirement is the ability to interpet the environment, plan highly efficient motions and execute these motions for autonomous safe navigation and morphological adaptation. Several research efforts in robotics have been made to increase the level of autonomy of articulated tracked vehicles, focusing on adaptation, stability, self-reconfiguration, track-soil interaction, motion planning and control.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together researchers of different areas and students interested in the subject to discuss the main open research challenges in 3D motion planning and control of these robots in Urban Search & Rescue.

The workshop includes talks from three speakers that are active in the different subareas of this topic and that will present their research work as well as their in-field experience in deploying these robots in real disaster scenarios.

Schedule

First talk: 10:00 - 10:45

Speaker: Dr. Arun Kumar Singh, Post-doctoral researcher, Bio-Medical Robotics Lab, BGU, Israel.

Title: Some fresh ideas for motion planning on uneven/rough terrains.

Abstract: In this talk, I will discuss some key challenges associated with motion planning on uneven terrains. In particular I will show, how the complexity is decided by how rigorously we model the robot-terrain interaction. If we model interaction in terms of only postural changes induced on the robot by the underlying terrain, the planning task remains fairly simple. However, sometimes it becomes necessary to incorporate a more complex dynamic robot-terrain interaction during motion planning and this leads to a significant increase in the complexity of the problem. I will show that the first key step in performing a dynamic motion planning on uneven terrain is to decipher how for a particular control input, the robot-terrain interacts to lead to a particular state evolution. Thereafter, I will show that once we have figured out this state evolution puzzle, the task of navigating through an uneven/rough terrain can be framed as an optimization with state and control dependent differential constraints. The peculiar and challenging part is that these constraints rarely have an analytical form, thus, forcing us to adopt an sampling approach to decide whether a particular state and control combination satisfy the differential constraints. To this end, I will present a concept called Feasible Acceleration Count which can be exploited to develop a greedy sampling based motion planner. I will also talk about a new concept called non-linear time scaling which can be exploited to efficiently solve differential constraints and thus finds strong application in uneven terrain motion planning. Towards the end of the talk, I will discuss some current open questions and promising future research directions.

Short bio: Dr. Arun Kumar Singh obtained his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Durgapur, India and his PhD in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Robotics Research Center, IIIT-Hyderabad, India. Currently he is a Postdoctoral fellow at the ABC Robotics Initiative of Ben-Gurion University, Israel. His research interests lies in motion planning and control of complex dynamical systems. At present he is trying to develop human-in-loop motion planning methodologies for reducing the cognitive load of the operator in tele-operation tasks, with special focus towards Robot Assisted Surgeries. He is also highly interested in fusing conventional machine learning algorithms and findings of neuroscience communities for human motion prediction in complex scenarios.

 

Second talk: 11:00 - 11:45

Speaker: Prof. Mario Gianni, DIAG "A. Ruberti", Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

Title: Adaptive robust three-dimensional trajectory tracking for actively articulated tracked vehicles.

Abstract: In this talk, I will present a unified framework for trajectory tracking controller design of Actively Articulated Tracked Vehicles. The approach develops both a direct and differential kinematic model of the AATV correlating the robot body motion to the sub-tracks motion. The benefit of this approach is to allow the controller to flexibly manage all the DOF of the AATV as well as the steering. The differential kinematic model integrates a differential drive robot model, compensating the slippage between the vehicle tracks and the traversed terrain. The underlying feedback control law dynamically accounts for the kinematic singularities of the mechanical vehicle structure. The designed controller also integrates a strategy selector to reduce both the effort of the sub-tracks servo motors and the traction force on the robot body, recognizing when the robot is moving on horizontal plane surfaces. According to this strategy, rotational motions of the robot, moving within narrow passages, are also facilitated. This framework has been used for the design of the trajectory tracking controller of the actively articulated racked vehicle Absolem, recently realized for the EU-FP7-ICT Project NIFTi. Several experiments have been performed, in both virtual and real scenarios, to validate the designed trajectory tracking controller, while the robot Absolem negotiates rubbles, stairs and complex terrain surfaces.

Short bio: Mario Gianni is Assistant Professor at the Department of Computer Control, and Management Engineering “A. Ruberti”, Sapienza University of Rome. He is a member of the research group at the Vision, Perception and Learning Robotics Laboratory, ALCOR, directed by Prof. Fiora Pirri. From January 2010 till December 2013 he has been working for the EU FP7 ICT 247870 project NIFTI, aiming at providing natural cooperation between humans and teams of robots in Urban Search and Rescue scenarios. Currently, he is working for the EU FP7 ICT 609763 project TRADR, aiming at developing new S&T for long-term human-robot teaming for robot assisted disaster response. In 2012 he tightly collaborated with the Italian National Fire Corps in order to deploy a human-robot team for assessing damage of historical buildings and cultural artifacts of the ancient city of Mirandola, in Northern Italy, hit by an earthquake. He received the Ph.D. in Computer Engineering from Sapienza University of Rome, with a dissertation titled “Multilayered Cognitive Control for Unmanned Ground Vehicles”. Research interests include statistics and logic, applied to robotics, autonomous navigation and adaptation for self-reconfigurable robots in cluttered environments, low and high-level control in multi-robot collaboration.

 

Third talk: 12:00 - 12:45

Speaker: Federico Ferri, PhD student, DIAG "A. Ruberti", Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

Title: 3D motion planning with dynamics.

Abstract: In motion planning with dynamics, the objective is to compute a trajectory to the goal region that not only avoids collisions with obstacles but also satisfies differential constraints imposed by robot dynamics. It is motivated by navigation, exploration, search and rescue missions, where it is essential to compute trajectories that can be followed by the robot in a physical real world. Motion planning, in its early years, did not take dynamics into account. Instead, it considered only the geometry of the robot and of obstacles. This simplified view fueled research in sampling-based approaches, such as probabilistic roadmap, rapidly-exploring random tree and expansive space tree methods. However, it has been noted that when dealing with challenges in problems with dynamics, sampling-based motion planners slow down significantly. In this talk, I will describe an approach to incorporates dynamics into sampling-based methods for real-time motion planning for articulated tracked robots. This approach makes use of a motion planning algorithm for sampling primitives in the control space of the robot and relies on a real-time physics engine which performs a state propagation process to estimates the resulting robot state. I'll illustrate the framework which synergically combines motion planning and the underlying physical simulation, also discussing pro and cons.

Short bio: Federico Ferri received his M.Sc. in Engineering in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics from the Department of Computer Control, and Management Engineering “A. Ruberti”, Sapienza University of Rome. He is a member of the research group at the Vision, Perception and Learning Robotics Laboratory, ALCOR, directed by Prof. Fiora Pirri. Currently, he is a PhD student at Sapienza University of Rome. He is working for the H2020-ICT Project SecondHands aiming at designing a robot assistant for maintenance tasks that either pro-actively or as a result of prompting, can offer assistance to maintenance technicians performing routine and preventative maintenance. Research interests include reasoning, knowledge representation and robot planning.


TRADR Joint Exercise 2015

From May 18th to 22th, ALCOR lab members participated at the TRADR Joint Exercise 2015 that took place at Phoenix, the ruin of an old furnace in Dortmund, Germany. One of the goals was to run system tests for individual components as well as a general use-case/scenario test for whole TRADR system, with the participation of the end-users. At the same time independent experiments have been carried out. The end-users input and feedback  after the exercise, was another important aspect.


SecondHands Kickoff Meeting

From May 11th to 13th, ALCOR members have been involved together with the other partners, into the activities of the SecondHands (Horizon 2020 EU project) Kickoff Meeting, that took place at the University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. During the Kickoff Meeting all the project partners had the opportunity to meet each other and introduce themselves, as well as present the working packages they lead. Moreover they have discussed about the first year's action plan and the overall strategy of the 5-years project. SecondHands: A Robot Assistant for Industrial Maintenance Tasks develops a robot assistant that is trained to understand maintenance tasks so that it can either pro-actively or as a result of prompting, offer assistance to maintenance technicians performing routine and preventative maintenance. Conceptually the robot's task is to provide a second pair of hands to the maintenance engineer, such that once the robot has been trained it can predict when and how it can carefully provide help. ALCOR Lab is leading the work package dealing with the implementation of the robot knowledge, reasoning, and planning capabilities so that the robot is in the condition of discerning the state of the world into activities that are performed by the human and activities that should be done by itself to help the technician.


Seminar Thursday 14 May - Vincenza Ferrara - 14:30 A4

Title: Quali tecnologie per la promozione, uso e riuso del Patrimonio culturale

Speaker: Dr. Vincenza Ferrara

Description: Nel corso degli ultimi anni le tecnologie stanno avendo un ruolo predominante anche nel settore dei beni culturali. L’agenda digitale Europea ha inoltre raccomandato, nel 2011, di rendere accessibili I contenuti culturali e di consentirne il riuso in ambiente educativo, turismo e industria creativa. L’accesso personalizzato ai contenuti via web, le applicazioni per tablet e mobile, i games sono prodotti utili da sviluppare in tale contesto. Si presentano qui alcune linee di tendenza nello sviluppo di tecnologie per coinvolgere i visitatori di musei nell’approfondimento di contenuti (realtà aumentata), per rendere accessibile il patrimonio culturale in ambito scolastico creando apposite piattaforme per l’annotazione di contenuti didattici e per la produzione di lezioni multimediali, per lo sviluppo di open data nel settore dei beni culturali e per il loro riuso anche nella produzione di app.


Seminar Tuesday 12 May - Constantine Raftopoulos - 10:00 B203

Title: Constantine Raftopoulos - Global Curvature and the Noising Paradox

Speaker: Dr. Constantine Raftopoulos, NTUA Athens, Greece

Description: Curvature, as a descriptor of shape (e.g. describing the boundary of planar shapes) possesses a rare combination of good properties: It is intrinsic, intuitive, well defined, extensively studied and of an undisputed perceptual importance. However, there are at least two serious problems concerning its such use in computer vision: One has to do with noise. In a noisy curve, having, that is, high frequency Fourier components (hfFc) of no perceptual importance, the local nature of curvature restricts it in describing the noise itself rather than the underlying shape. Knowing whether hfFc of a curve represent noise or not, would require solving the harder problem of recognizing the object. Since hfFc might be defining for certain shapes or just noise in others, their presence in unrecognized (unknown) shapes is considered problematic, albeit they may present useful shape information. In practice, they are usually eliminated from the boundary of all shapes, by means of a blind step of smoothing, at the risk of losing useful discriminating shape information. Smoothing also distorts the shape's metrics in an unpredictable manner, a highly undesirable effect whenever certain "morphometric" measurements are defining for classification. Another problem in relation to curvature as a descriptor has to do with "meaningfulness". Even in noise free curves, the local nature of curvature doesn't permit any kind of "context" by means of which one could differentiate between points of similar curvature with respect to their perceptual characteristics on different parts of the curve. Behind both of these problems is curvature's local nature as it seems that any solution would have to defy the local definition of curvature. In this talk the local nature of curvature will be challenged at a theoretical level as an attempt to address the above problems based on an alternative Global definition of curvature will be discussed. The new concept of "noising" (as opposed to smoothing) emerges as a paradox and a new method for identifying vertices without even having to calculate curvature will be presented. Experiments with smooth and noisy KIMIA and MPEG silhouettes and a comparison to localized methods support the theoretical findings.


Seminar Thursday 9 April - Tatiana Tommasi - 15:00 Aula Magna

Title: Learning to learn: how far we are from the solution

Speaker: Dr. Tatiana Tommasi, ESAT KU-Leuven

Description: The talk will give an overview of the current state of the art in learning to learn applied to visual recognition, highlight some success stories and underline what are the future challenges ahead.


TRADR Year 1 Review Meeting

From March 16th to 19th, ALCOR members have been involved, together with the other partners, into the activities of the TRADR Year 1 Review Meeting that took place at the Fire Prevention Institute (Istituto Superiore Antincendi – ISA) in Rome. Using a proven-in-practice user-centric design methodology, TRADR develops novel science and technology for human-robot teams to assist in disaster response efforts over multiple missions. Various kinds of robots collaborate with human team members to explore the environment, and gather physical samples. TRADR is an integrated research project funded by the EU FP7 Programme, ICT: Cognitive systems, interaction, robotics. During the TRADR Review Meeting...Read more


ALCOR lab at OpenDIAG 2015

ALCOR lab has successfully presented its research activities at the open day event OpenDIAG, organized by the Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering Antonio Ruberti (DIAG). The event took place on Friday 13 March, and about 600 students, teachers and parents visited DIAG in order to get information about the degrees and the courses offered, the department’s research groups, as well as attend the demonstrations.

We have presented two live demonstrations, the Gaze Machine and “Human activities analysis from motion capture data”. The visitors had also the chance to attend two presentations in the lab, “Perception and autonomous navigation of the robot Absolem” and “Componet-wise modelling of articulated objects”.

Read more

 


 

GRAPP 2015: Presentation of our paper Point Cloud Structural Parts Extraction based on Segmentation Energy Minimization.

The 10th International Conference on Computer Graphics Theory and Applications (GRAPP 2015) has been held between March 11 and 14, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. The member of ALCOR Lab and Ph.D. student Valsamis Ntouskos has presented the paper Point Cloud Structural Parts Extraction based on Segmentation Energy Minimization, co-authored with Bruno Cafaro, Fiora Pirri, Manuel Ruiz and Iman Azimi. The paper abstract is presented below.

Abstract: In this work we consider 3D point sets, which in a typical setting represent unorganized point clouds. Segmentation of these point sets requires first to single out structural components of the unknown surface discretely approximated by the point cloud. Structural components, in turn, are surface patches approximating unknown parts of elementary geometric structures, such as planes, ellipsoids, spheres and so on. The approach used is based on level set methods computing the moving front of the surface and tracing the interfaces between different parts of it. Level set methods are widely recognized to be one of the most efficient methods to segment both 2D images and 3D medical images. Level set methods for 3D segmentation have recently received an increasing interest. We contribute by proposing a novel approach for raw point sets. Based on the motion and distance functions of the level set we introduce four energy minimization models, which are used for segmentation, by considering an equal number of distance functions specified by geometric features. Finally we evaluate the proposed algorithm on point sets simulating unorganized point clouds.

The presentation of the paper can be found here.


Prof. Barbara Caputo receives an ERC Starting Grant for the project RoboExNovo

We are happy to announce that Professor Barbara Caputo, member of ALCOR Lab, has been awarded the prestigious ERC 2014 Starting Grant for the 5-years project titled RoboExNovo: Robots learning about objects from externalized knowledge sources.

The European Research Council (ERC) today Tuesday 3 March, announced the final list of the top researchers, winners of the 2014 Starting Grant Call. ERC Starting Grants are intended for the best junior researchers to help them fully develop their potential and become a new generation of European research leaders. In 2014, 3272 researchers from all over the world, have applied for the grant and 375 have won, with a success rate of 11,5%.

The project RoboExNovo aims to develop the theory and the algorithms required for the robots to learn information from Internet, as we do, and thus be able to take the necessary actions. Currently, robots are not able to react effectively to the unexpected , and in particular are not good at recognizing new objects and quickly understand how to use them and how to interact with them. The possibility that robots could learn information from Internet is extremely limited. RoboExNovo will make this crucial step possible for every object and robot, by creating theory and algorithms that can construct representations of the knowledge deriving from Web. The project will have an important impact in the commercialization of robots that offer assistance to the elderly, disabled and in general in the field of home robotics.

The official Press Release can be found here

Sapienza Università di Roma Press Release

Press:

Corriere della Sera

Askanews

Ansa

La Repubblica

Dire

Avvenire

Adnkronos

NapoliTime

Diregiovani

Controcampus

Contattonews

Corriere della Sera

Superabile



ALCOR Lab at OpenDIAG 2015

The Department of Computer, Control, and Management Engineering Antonio Ruberti will be opening its doors to students, teachers and parents, during the open day event OpenDIAG. The event will take place on Friday 13 March, from 09.00 till 18:00.

We are inviting everyone to visit our lab, watch our demonstrations and get informed about our research activities.

The visitors will have the opportunity to attend the following demonstrations and presentations in ALCOR Lab (in italian):

Analisi delle azioni umane tramite motion capture

Percezione e navigazione autonoma con il robot Absolem

Ricostruzione per componenti di oggetti articolati

The Gaze Machine

 

More information (in italian) can be found here


 



Master's courses "Vision and Perception" and "Pattern Recognition for Computer Vision" begin this week

The lessons of the Master's courses of AI and Robotics "Vision and Perception" and "Pattern Recognition for Computer Vision" begin this week:

Vision and Perception lectures begin on Tuesday, February 24

Pattern Recognition for Computer Vision lectures begin on Wednesday, February 25


ALCOR Lab partner in the new European Robotic project "SecondHands" under Horizon 2020

The results of the first Call for Robotic Projects LEIT ICT 23 under Horizon 2020 have been published. The EU has funded 17 projects, among them the project SecondHands that has received 5.994.000 Euro funding for 5 years.

ALCOR Lab (Sapienza Università di Roma) is one of the project partners.

The project coordinated by OCADO Group will develop a new type of Robot that will offer assistance to maintenance technicians performing routine and preventative maintenance in OCADO's production lines. OCADO Group is the project coordinator and the other partners are the Sapienza Università di Roma - ALCOR Lab, the University College London (UCL), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

 

Related material:

Robohub


Best PhD Student Award for our paper Collaborative Activities Understanding from 3D Data presented at ICPRAM 2015

We are happy to announce that Fabrizio Natola, member of ALCOR Lab, received the ICPRAM 2015 Best PhD Student Award for the paper Collaborative Activities Understanding from 3D Data co-authored with Valsamis Ntouskos and Fiora Pirri. The 4th International Conference on Pattern Recognition Applications and Methods (ICPRAM) was held on 10-12 January in Lisbon, Portugal. Congratulations Fabrizio!


ICPRAM 2015 Doctoral Consortium: Presentation of our paper Collaborative Activities Understanding from 3D Data.

The Doctoral Consortium will be held between January 10 and 12, 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal and will take place in conjunction with the 4th International Conference on Pattern Recognition Applications and Methods (ICPRAM). The member of ALCOR Lab, Fabrizio Natola will be presenting the paper Collaborative Activities Understanding from 3D Data co-authored with Valsamis Ntouskos and Fiora Pirri.

The presentation of the paper can be found here.

 


 

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