New Frontiers in Robot-assisted Therapy and Education

Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn, University of Waterloo, Canada

When: 15/12/2022 at 15:00 (CET Time)

I have been working for more than 20 years on robot-assisted therapy for children with special needs and supporting independent living for older adults. I realized early on that it is important to foster human-human interaction, rather than trying to replace human contact. This approach has been my guiding principle in all of my application-oriented projects – I argue that we need to find applications where robots have an added value, rather than replacing work that human interaction partners are much better at. Interactions with robots are inherently mechanical in nature, only humans can provide genuine understanding and empathy, based on lived experience. After some general remarks on this topic, I will introduce a few examples of my research team’s recent work at University of Waterloo. None of this research would have been possible without my exceptionally talented and committed research team.

Bio: Kerstin Dautenhahn, IEEE Fellow, AISB Fellow, is Full Professor and Canada 150 Research Chair in Intelligent Robotics at University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada where she directs the Social and Intelligent Robotics Laboratory. Her research areas are social robotics, human-robot interaction, assistive robotics, and cognitive and developmental robotics. She has published more than 400 peer-reviewed publications, including 103 journal articles (H-Index 85), and frequently gives invited keynote presentations at international conferences. She has several senior Editorial Roles in international journals.

The future of research and its organization: fundamental questions, social innovation, and megatrends

Professor Maria Chiara Carrozza, Italian National Research Council (CNR), Italy

When: 14/12/2022 at 15:00 (CET Time)

My background is in Physics and Bioengineering. My research area for several years was biorobotics and neurorobotics. I was involved in pioneering projects focused on cybernetics hands, integration of neuroscience and robotics, and exoskeletons for rehabilitation and personal assistance. I founded spin off companies, and I have been member of the Board of Director of an international manufacturing company that has headquarter in Italy. Recently I was nominated President of the National Research Council of Italy, the largest public research institution in Italy. This lecture will go across multiple experiences, scientific, technological, industrial, and political, to enter the most important challenges for research of present time. Research should be organized around big scientific questions, and impact of research in knowledge, science, society must be monitored. Research today must face emergencies: for addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, pandemics, and inequalities related to poor access to enabling technologies and materials. The megatrends and geopolitical issues are shaping research directions, and scientist must collaborate to find solutions. It is clear however, that fundamental research is crucial for developing competences and scientific knowledges to address translational research and transformation of science in enabling technologies. To this aim the National Research Council is preparing a reform of the scientific organization and is involved in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, with several initiatives for developing research infrastructures, open science, and collaborative projects to support translational research. In conclusion, FIT4MED, a large collaborative public-private partnership focused on rehabilitation and social robotics, will be presented.

Bio: Maria Chiara Carrozza, MoS degree in Physics from University of Pisa in 1990, and Ph.D. in Engineering at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy in 1994. Since 2021 she is President of the National Research Council. She is Full Professor of Industrial Bioengineering at The BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. She has been Rector of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna from 2007 to 2013, Member of the Italian Parliament from 2013 to 2018, and Minister of Education, University and Research of Italian Republic from 2013 to 2014. From 2018 to 2021 she was Scientific Director of Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation in Milan, Italy, a network of Research hospitals dedicated to Rehabilitation Medicine. From 2015 to 2021 she served in the Board of Directors of the Piaggio SpA. She is Founding Partner of IUVO Srl, a start-up active in the field of Wearable Robotics. From 2016 to 2021 she was President of Italian Scientific Association of Biomedical Engineers.

From Romeo & Juliet to OceanOneK Deep-Sea Robotic Exploration

Professor Oussama Khatib, Standford University, United States

When: 15/12/2022 at 11:15 (CET Time)

OceanOneK is a robotic diver with a high degree of autonomy for physical interaction with the environment while connected to a human expert through an intuitive interface. The robot was recently deployed in several archeological expeditions in the Mediterranean with the ability to reach 1000 meters. Distancing humans physically from dangerous and unreachable spaces while connecting their skills, intuition, and experience to the task.

Bio: Oussama Khatib received his PhD from Sup’Aero, Toulouse, France, in 1980. He is Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Robotics Laboratory at Stanford University. His research focuses on methodologies and technologies in human-centered robotics, haptic interactions, artificial intelligence, human motion synthesis and animation. He is President of the International Foundation of Robotics Research (IFRR) and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). He is Editor of the Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics (STAR) series, and the Springer Handbook of Robotics, awarded the American Publishers Award for Excellence in Physical Sciences and Mathematics. He is recipient of the IEEE Robotics and Automation (IEEE/RAS) Pioneering Award (for his fundamental contributions in robotics research, visionary leadership and life-long commitment to the field), the IEEE/RAS George Saridis Leadership Award, the Distinguished Service Award, the Japan Robot Association (JARA) Award, the Rudolf Kalman Award, and the IEEE Technical Field Award. Professor Khatib is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.