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Teo, robot for autistic children

Teo is a holonomic base (Triskarino), holding infrared distance sensors, on which a kind of soft, yellow egg (a flanell cotton sack filled by polystirol micro-balls) is fixed. The main body also includes touch sensors which allow to detect if t is caressed, hugged, punched, or hurted. Below the base there is a circle of colour leds, and a loudspeaker is also included to make Teo to tell text, or emit emotional sounds. On the top of the body a hat holds five buttons used to communicate esplicitly with the robot. On the front of the body a magnetic plate allows to compose faces and to include elements on the robot. Teo is intended to be used as an agent, different from the therapist, with which the children affected by ASD can interact. We have implemented some autonomous reactions, mainly to the touch. Teo can also be driven by an operator, or by programs on a remote computer. Teo has been implemente in 4 versions, the first three within the Polisocial project KROG as a mobile element that interacts with a big screen and a Kinect system in ludic activities, and the fourth has been delivered as an operational support to […]
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RoboTower

RoboTower is a PIRG (Physically Interacting RoboGame), a kind of Robogame characterized by dynamism and physical interaction among users and robots in non-structured environments. The game challenges both movement and cogitive skills. The robot has  to knock dowown yellow towers and the red tower. The human players can delay its activity by selecting a card to be put in front of the robot RFID cards that are read when the robot goes over them. Each card makes the robot doing some action (turn, go back, stop) or prebvents it from seeing the towers. Once used, a card can be used again after a time shorter as more yellow towers are standing). The game finishes either when the timeout is reached, or the red tower is down. Among the interesting aspects emerged in this game, is the hard involvement of players induced by timing pressure.
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Emotional Robots

Robots that can show emotions, personality traits, character, and mood can be better accepted as social partners. In this area, we are investigating the very basic cues a robot can produce to show these aspects. Since many robots have a shape constrained by their function, we are exploring how non-humanoid nor bio-inspired robots can show emotions and the rest. Interesting aspects are rythm, speed, and accelleration of actuation. This research considers suggestions from cartoons, puppetry, theatre, dance, and ethology. Contact Person: Andrea Bonarini
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Theatre Robot Actor

Human social interactions are based on the correct response to social situations. If someone does not respond in an expected way, he/she is margined by the others. Thus, robots that interact with humans in everyday life places, such as home, office, classroom and public spaces, should not only accomplish their task, but also be accepted by humans, which means that they feel comfortable to interact with robots. As a consequence, social robots must have the capacity to show emotions and behave in a socially correct way. However, building robots that could accomplish their tasks and show emotion is not an easy job due to the difficulty to select the correct emotion, show the emotion in a way that could be understandable by humans, together with all the traditional problems to perform a given task. This makes crucial to find a real environment that allows focusing the research efforts on the production of effective social and emotional interaction, without the need for other abilities (e.g., emotion detection, status detection, person recognition, etc.). Several researches have suggested that theatre could be an excellent place to test social and emotional abilities, due to theatre constraints that make the actor know what to say, […]
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Jedi Trainer

Jedi Trainer is a PIRG (Physically Interacting RoboGame), a kind of Robogame characterized by dynamism and physical interaction among users and robots in non-structured environments. This is a project aimed at implementing a system that recreates the Luke Skywalker’s training as a Jedi Knight: a quadricopter (drone) flies around the Player (trainee), who wears a special game uniform and wields a light-saber. the drone has a strategy to shoot the Player with laser blasts. The Player must parry those blasts with his light-saber. The player is supposed to wear a uniform with the double purpose of being identified and “feel” the game. The sword used is a red swimming noodle. Laser blasts are simulated by a special noise produced by the drone. The game is very dynamic, being the player able to move freely in the space, while the drone follows him/her, to keep the interaction on. D. Martinoia, D. Calandriello, A. Bonarini (2013). Physically Interactive Robogames: Definition and Design GiudelineRobotics and Autonomous Systems. 61 (8), pp. 739-748. doi:10.1016/j.robot.2013.04.017 Contact Person: Andrea Bonarini
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Robogames

Interactive games with autonomous robots are one of the most challenging robotic research issues. The robot should involve the player, both physically and behaviorally, while acting in the real world. The games we are interested in are games where robot autonomy is exploited to obtain interesting, engaging games which may be implemented with cheap technology and enter in everyone’s home. Past experience is related to Robocup soccer robots, Edutainment, Affective Computing, and Rehabilitation. First steps in this direction were done in 205 with our rehabilitation robot and with robots physically interacting with players through the remote control of a WII console ROBOWII and different sensors, including cameras. We have developed a number of games in the Physically Interactive Robogames (PIRG) framework, were lively movement and interation are mandatory. We are evaluating the possibility to provide information gathered about the emotional state of people involved in games to the game controller robot, which should emotionally react raising the involvement of the human player in the game. An effective robot player needs to integrate edge technologies from robotics, interaction, and psychology. An interesting hardware (body) should be integrated with the needed functionalities to become a game companion. Contact Person: Andrea Bonarini
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