Intelligent Networked Robot Systems for Symbiotic Interaction with Children with Impaired Development 

Portuguese PI – Francisco Melo (INESC-ID; IST-UL) 
CMU PI – Manuela Veloso (CS) 

Research teams: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Lisboa (INESC ID); Associação para a Inovação e Desenvolvimento da FCT (NOVA.ID.FCT); Associação do Instituto Superior Técnico para a Investigação e o Desenvolvimento (IST-ID)
Organizations: Hospital Garcia de Orta, EPE (HGO); IDMIND – Engenharia de Sistemas, Lda (IDMIND); Plux, Engenharia de Biosensores Lda (PLUX); VoiceInteraction – Tecnologias de Processamento da Fala, S.A. (Voice Interaction) 

Main Research Unit: Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Investigação e Desenvolvimento em Lisboa (INESC ID)
Funding Reference: FCT CMUP-ERI/HCI/0051/2013
Duration: 48 months
 Human-robot Interaction; Symbiotic Interaction; Multiagent Planning; Therapeutical Application


“The team gathered in this initiative includes a rich mixture of research institutes, universities, technological partners and a hospital. As such, we are all very excited with the opportunity to work and collaborate in such an eclectic team. Inside also provides a key opportunity for maintaining existing collaborations and create new ones, both between the participating research institutes and with the industrial partners and the Hospital.  

We strongly believe in the potential of such collaboration between research-oriented institutions, companies and hospital to greatly increase the impact and visibility to the work conducted within the project. In particular, we are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with children, as the interaction with HGO will surely constitute an excellent chance to bring the fruits of our research closer to the “public”, and truly exploit the social impact of technology.”

Francisco Melo and Manuela Veloso

The INSIDE initiative explores symbiotic interactions between humans and robots in joint cooperative activities, and addresses the following key research problems:

– How can robots plan their course of action to coordinate with and accommodate for the actions of their human teammates? In particular, is it possible to foresee, at planning time, the possibility of having the robots assist humans in actions that the latter cannot perform single-handedly (due to the complexity of the action or to limitations of the human agent) as well as having the humans assist the robots in those actions that the robots cannot perform on their own (for example, due to perceptual or actuation limitations)?

– How can task, context and environment information collected from a set of networked sensors (such as cameras and biometric sensors) be exploited to create more natural and engaging interactions between humans and robots involved in a joint cooperative activity in a physical environment?  

INSIDE strives to develop new hardware and software solutions that will support the aforementioned research towards the final deployment of a real-world interaction scenario where children with impaired development interact with a networked robot system in a joint cooperative task with therapeutical purposes. The proposed initiative involves the collaborative effort of the Computer Science Department at CMU and several Portuguese institutions (three research institutions and one hospital), as well as three Portuguese companies with extensive experience in the development of robot systems, human-computer speech interaction and compact biometric sensors.

Articles published: 

IPO and Garcia de Orta Will Test Robots in Therapy with Children [Exame Informática – January 2015]