Travel & Registration


On August 3rd, there will be a half-day tutorial and a tour of the robotics laboratories at Georgia Tech. The robotics tour will include the laboratories of Profs. Kemp, Howard, Ueda, Thomaz, Stilman and Christensen. The tour will be 9:30 -- 2:30 across the campus of Georgia Tech. Registration for the tour can be done on-site at the registration desk by July 31.

Half-Day Tutorial open to all fully registered conference participants. 8:30 -- noon

Developing Skin-Based Technologies for Interactive Robots - Challenges in design, development and the possible integration in therapeutic environments.


Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Farshid Amirabdollahian,

The University of Hertfordshire, School of Computer Science {b.robins, k.dautenhahn, f.amirabdollahian2} 2

Fulvio Mastrogiovanni,Giorgio Cannata

University of Genova, Department of Communication, Computer and System Sciences
{fulvio.mastrogiovanni, giorgio.cannata}

Robotics and automation in general and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI) in particular are growing research fields with many application areas that could have a big impact on human society. It has become increasingly apparent that social and interactive skills are necessary requirements in many application areas and contexts where robots need to interact and collaborate with other robots or humans in a safe and intelligent way.

Tactile sensing is strategic for safe interaction of robots with humans, objects, possibly in unstructured conditions. Contact sensing provides an important and direct feedback to control contact both in case of voluntary and non-voluntary interactions with the environment. Advanced applications require a complex form of interaction, for instance in the case of skin based social cognition tasks, where the modes of interaction arise from the human-robot contact, and convey the information related to the robot task.

This half day tutorial will present some of the technical, design and implementation challenges faced in the development of the ROBOSKIN technologies. ROBOSKIN is a FP7 project funded by the European Commission. The project aims to improve the ability of robots to act efficiently and safely during tasks involving human-robot interaction and to develop and demonstrate a range of new robot capabilities based on robot skin tactile feedback from large areas of the robot body. The three main objectives of the project are i) to develop new sensor technologies providing tactile feedback, ii) to develop and integrate fundamental cognitive structures for efficient and safe use of tactile data and iii) to develop cognitive mechanisms exploiting tactile feedback to improve human-robot interaction capabilities.
One of the expected results is the demonstration of such application in the context of social cognition in the problem domain of autism therapy.
The tutorial will present the following topics: The design of networking solutions for different sensory nodes that are embedded in the skin prototype.

Tutorial Organizers:
Dr. Ben Robins: has qualification and many years of work experience in two disciplines: Dance Movement Therapy (since 1992) and Computer Science (since 1980). He completed his PhD degree in 2005. His thesis was on "A Humanoid robot as assistive technology for encouraging social interaction skills in children with autism". His publications have won several best conference paper awards. His research interests lie in the area of Human Robot Interaction (HRI) with specific interest in the application of robotic systems in rehabilitation, therapy and education. In recent years Ben was program co-chair, committee member and special session organizer in several international conferences, and an invited speaker in workshops and seminars in various countries. Ben is currently a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire, UK.

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Dautenhahn is Research Professor of Artificial Intelligence in the School of Computer Science and coordinator of the Adaptive Systems Research Group at the University of Hertfordshire. She has pioneered research in social robotics, socially intelligent agents, robot social learning and imitation, human-robot interaction and assistive technology and has published more than 150 research articles. Recently she was general chair and local organizer of IEEE RO-MAN 2006. She is Editor in Chief of the journal Interaction Studies: Social Behavior and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems. She is Principal Investigator of the Hertfordshire team in several European FP7 projects.

Dr Farshid Amirabdollahian is a Senior Lecturer (research) in the School of Computer Science at Hertfordshire and also an active member of Adaptive Systems Research Group at this University. He has undertaken research in assistive and rehabilitation robotics since 1999, and has been involved in both the "GENTLE/S — the use of robots and haptic interfaces to assist in neuro-rehabilitation following a stroke" [QLRT-1999-02282] and "I-MATCH — matching an optimum interface to an assistive device used by a user of assistive technology" [IST-2002-37280] EU funded projects. Farshid is currently involved in RoboSkin and LIREC ( EC funded projects.

Dr. Fulvio Mastrogiovanni received the M.Sc. and the Ph.D. degree from University of Genova in 2003 and 2008, respectively. During this period, he pursued research in the novel field of Ubiquitous Robotics, with a specific emphasis on knowledge representation, context awareness and reasoning. which ultimately lead to a Best Paper Award at DARS2008. Recently, Fulvio's main research interests switched to the interplay between sensing and acting, mediated by internal models of knowledge. From May 2009, he is managing coordinator of the FP7 EC-funded ROBOSKIN project, aimed at devising practical principles for designing and building artificial skin for robots, as well as defining concrete architectures for enabling robots to implement touch-based interaction processes. Fulvio received the Best Paper Awards at DARS 2008 and IEEE RO-MAN 2010. He is currently completing as co-editor the Handbook of Research on Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments, to be released by IGI Global in 2011.

Prof. Giorgio Cannata is Associate Professor of Automatic and Digital Control at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Genova. His research interests are in the area of robotics and control for robotic, mechatronic and embedded systems. His research interests include also robotics and robot control theory, control of mechanical systems, dynamic simulation, theory of dynamic implicit systems. He is currently Coordinator of the FP7 EC-funded project ROBOSKIN, and Principal Investigator in the FP7 EC funded project EYESHOTS. He is also coordinator of the Italian national project "Bio-inspired models for the control of robot ocular movements during active vision and 3D
exploration" funded by the Italian Ministry of Education and Scientific Research. He has been principal investigator in several Italian National projects, and EU funded projects since 1990 under programs MAST II, MAST III, ESPRIT, BRITE-EURAM, IST. In 1992 Giorgio Cannata has been awarded with the Cameli Prize by the Association of the Italian Electrical Engineers (A.E.I.). He is currently scientific responsible of the Mechatronics and Automatic Control Laboratory (MAC-LAB) of DIST.