The main asset of humanoid robots is their universality. Just like humans, they
may lag behind in very particular tasks, but excel in the variety of jobs they
can master. In this talk, I will introduce the open-source humanoid robot iCub,
focusing on my recent work at the iCub Facility, Italian Institute of
Technology, Genoa. The first research strand concerns using the robot to model
human cognition, in particular how the brain represents and updates the
properties and current state of the body. The iCub with a human-like morphology
and a corresponding set of sensory (visual, proprioceptive, tactile – the iCub
has recently been equipped with an artificial pressure-sensitive skin covering
most body parts) and motor modalities is a perfect modeling tool that makes it
possible to move from computational models to embodied ones and significantly
contribute to understanding the mechanisms underlying body representations.
Second, I will specifically target two application areas in robotics, where we
can profit from the inspiration in biology and where the robot with whole-body
tactile array provides a key enabling technology. These areas are: (i)
autonomous self-calibration and (ii) safe and intelligent man-machine
interaction through whole-body awareness. Tackling these two problems is key in
making the transition from traditional industrial robots to robots that work
alongside human workers. Finally, I will briefly introduce other research
directions that can pursued on the robot and present my intentions regarding a
planned return to Prague and the possibility of acquiring the iCub robot for
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Department of Cybernetics, Center for
Robotics and Autonomous Systems.
Matej Hoffmann received Mgr. (M.Sc.) degree in Computer Science, Artificial
Intelligence at Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in
Prague, Czech Republic, in 2006. Between 2006 and 2013 he completed his PhD
degree and then served as senior research associate at the Artificial
Intelligence Laboratory, University of Zurich, Switzerland (Prof. Rolf Pfeifer).
From May 2013 he has been working at the iCub Facility of the Italian Institute
of Technology with Prof. Giorgio Metta. He has been supported by a Marie Curie
Experienced Researcher Fellowship.
Matej is hosted by Tomas Svoboda.