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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

11 Million Euro for Safe Robots in 2015


SAPHARI 2011

2015 may be the year when European robots will be safe enough to leave their labs in search for new jobs in manufacturing, hospitals and home care. 

Safety is one of the most critical issues in human-robot interaction. As long as there is a risk that an industrial or household robot action can hurt or even kill a human, robots may not be released to act in public or private environments. To find out what is needed to overcome these saftey proplem leading researchers from France, Germany and Italy have started the four year European Collaborative Project FP7, SAPHARI, funded by the EU with 8 million Euro, to develope robots that will become safe and autonomous in physical interaction with humans. The researchers plan to equip robots with capabilities to react to human actions or even take the initiative to interact in a situation‐dependent manner relying on sensor based decisions and background knowledge.

The project will focuse on two industrial use cases that explicitly contain deliberate physical interaction between a human and a robot co‐worker, as well as on professional service scenarios in hospitals, in which medical staff and an assisting robot interact closely during daily work. These prototypical applications will pave the way towards new and emerging markets, not only in industry and professional services, but possibly also in household robots, advanced prostheses and rehabilitation devices, teleoperation, and robotic surgery. Generally, results of this project are expected to strongly impact all applications where interactive robots can assist humans and release them from dangerous or routine tasks.

Robotic Paradigm Shift
The project is aimed to perform a fundamental paradigm shift in robot development in the sense that the human will be placed at the centre of the entire design. The project will take a big step further along the human-centered roadmap by addressing all essential aspects of safe, intuitive physical interaction between humans and complex, human-like robotic systems in a strongly interconnected manner.Additional information can be found in the project web site http://www.saphari.eu.

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