The Collaborative Research Center 588 "Humanoid Robots - Learning and Cooperating Multimodal Robots" was established on the 1st of July by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The goal of this project is to generate concepts, methods and concrete mechatronical components for a humanoid robot, which will share his activity space with a human partner.
With the help of this partially anthropomorphic robot system, it will be possible to step out of the "robot cage" to realise a direct contact to humans.
In order to be accepted by humans and in order to act together with them, it is advantageous for the robot to have an anthropomorphoid shape. Thus, a mobile two arm system with 5-finger-hands and a flexible torso are developed as well as a sensor head with visual and acoustic sensors. Additionally the motion system and therewith the behavior of the robot will be adjusted on human-like motions. The image above shows the prototype of the CRC 588, ARMAR-System.
The term multimodality includes the communication modalities, which are intuitive for the user, such as speech, gesture and haptics (physical contact between the human and the robot). These will be user to command or instruct the robot system directly.
Concerning the cooperation between the user and the robot - for example in the joint manipulation of objects - it is important for the robot to recognize the human's intention, to remember the acts that have already been carried out together and to apply this knowledge correctly in the individual case. The humans current activity and intention are estimated based on the humans motions besides others. The necessary models and recognizers for human motions are beeing developed at the Cognitive Systems Lab.
The Collaborative Research Center 588 is assigned to the Faculty of Computer Science. More than 40 scientists and 13 institutes are involved in this project. They belong to the Faculty of Computer Science, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, the Faculty of Information Engineering, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and the Insitute for Physical Education as well as the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, the Forschungszentrum Informatik and the FraunhofergesellSchaft (IITB).
For more information about the CRC 588 see http://www.sfb588.uni-karlsruhe.de/. If you have any questions, especially concerning the modelling and recognition of human motion, please contact Dirk Gehrig.