Alessandra Sciutti is a Tenure Track Researcher, head of the CONTACT (COgNiTive Architecture for Collaborative Technologies) Unit of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). She received her B.S and M.S. degrees in Bioengineering and the Ph.D. in Humanoid Technologies from the University of Genova in 2010. After two research periods in USA and Japan, in 2018 she has been awarded the ERC Starting Grant wHiSPER (www.whisperproject.eu), focused on the investigation of joint perception between humans and robots. She published more than 80 papers and abstracts in international journals and conferences and participated in the coordination of the CODEFROR European IRSES project (https://www.codefror.eu/). She is currently Associate Editor for several journals, among which the International Journal of Social Robotics, the IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems and Cognitive System Research. The scientific aim of her research is to investigate the sensory and motor mechanisms underlying mutual understanding in human-human and human-robot interaction.
Talk: “Cognitive robotics for mutual understanding in HRI”
Abstract: Creating robots that can effectively interact with humans involves empowering them to build and sustain a precise understanding of human beings. This necessitates the robot’s capacity to comprehend human needs, desires, and intentions, while also exhibiting clear and comprehensible behavior. Additionally, it requires the ability to anticipate the outcomes of its actions and those of others, learning to adjust to dynamic conditions, and autonomously choosing appropriate behavior. Drawing inspiration from human cognitive development, we discuss how these skills can be integrated into the design of cognitive robots, significantly enhancing their capacity to interact effectively with humans.
Alessandro Umbrico (M.S. Engineering Computer Science 2012, Ph.D. Computer Science and Automation, 2017) is a researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies of CNR (CNR-ISTC), Rome, Italy. His research topics cover the development of AI-based planning and execution techniques in Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) scenarios. He investigates the integration of knowledge representation and planning for the design of novel cognitive-inspired control approaches supporting contextualized and adaptive interactions between humans and robots. He contributed to a number of research projects addressing HRI issues for healthcare assistance and collaborative manufacturing. Concerning manufacturing, he participated in the H2020 research projects FourByThree and ShareWork (H2020 Factories of the Future). A parallel thread concerns the development of AI-based technologies for healthcare assistance. He participated in several projects e.g., AAL EU Projects EasyReach, MAESTRO, TV-AssistDem, and the ESA Project SmartSatCare. These projects represented valuable experience in gathering requirements from different stakeholders (e.g., end-users, and healthcare professionals) and designing AI-based services taking into account the different perspectives and needs.
Talk: “Ontology-Enhanced Control for Effective Human-Robot Interaction”
Abstract: Autonomous robots acting in working and social contexts require the development of cognitive capabilities necessary to realize adaptive, contextualized, and safe behaviors. Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies well-support the implementation of relevant capabilities e.g., decision-making, knowledge representation, problem-solving, or learning. The synergetic integration of heterogeneous AI technologies is crucial to endow robots with a “mind” and combine the functions of cognition necessary to realize effective behaviors. This talk discusses recent results integrating ontology and timeline-based task-planning techniques within a novel control architecture inspired by the Dual Process Theory. The distinction between fast and slow reasoning processes in particular guides the integration of AI modules that reason at different levels of abstraction and “time scales” supporting the needed levels of reactivity and deliberation. The talk discusses applications of the proposed concepts in healthcare assistance and collaborative manufacturing entailing continuous and adaptive interactions between a human and a robot.