MOBOT: Intelligent Active MObility Aid RoBOT integrating Multimodal Communication

Start Date: 01/01/2013
End Date: 31/01/2016
Funding: ICT (FP7) - Research Infrastructures
Project Leader: Fotinea Stavroula-Evita

Mobility disabilities are prevalent in our ageing society and impede activities important for the independent living of elderly people and their quality of life. The MOBOT project aims at supporting mobility and thus enforcing fitness and vitality by developing intelligent active mobility assistance robots for indoor environments that provide user-centred, context-adaptive and natural support. Our driving concept envisions cognitive robotic assistants that act (a) proactively by realizing an autonomous and context-specific monitoring of human activities and by subsequently reasoning on meaningful user behavioural patterns, as well as (b) adaptively and interactively, by analysing multi-sensory and physiological signals related to gait and postural stability, and by performing adaptive compliance control for optimal physical support and active fall prevention.

Towards these targets, a multimodal action recognition system will be developed to monitor, analyse and predict user actions with a high level of accuracy and detail. The main thrust of our approach will be the enhancement of computer vision techniques with modalities such as range sensor images, haptic information as well as command-level speech and gesture recognition. Data-driven multimodal human behaviour analysis will be conducted and behavioural patterns will be extracted. Findings will be imported into a multimodal human-robot communication system, involving both verbal and nonverbal communication and will be conceptually and systemically synthesised into mobility assistance models taking into consideration safety critical requirements. All these modules will be incorporated in a behaviour-based and context-aware robot control framework. Direct involvement of end-user groups will ensure that actual user needs are addressed. Finally, user trials will be conducted to evaluate and benchmark the overall system and to demonstrate the vital role of MOBOT technologies for Europe’s service robotics.