Also this year I had the chance to attend a summer school, after ISRIS in 2009 and 2010 school at JAIST, I was going to this year’s Hands On Summer School on Neural Dynamics Approaches to Cognitive Robotics in Guimaraes, Portugal.
This school focused on the idea of Dynamic Neural Fields (similar but according to the presentations more powerful than Neural Network approaches) and how to use them in various robotic systems. The presentations, mainly given by researchers from the University of Bochum and Minho, ranged from computer science to neuroscience and included various applications, such as on mobile and humanoid robots (including the Nao and ARoS, a humanoid (upper body) robot built at Minho). The school ended with a project to be implemented (and yes there is a video of ARoS after the jump).
The summer school was held at the University of Minho, which is situated in Guimaraes, the first capital of Portugal, set in a scenic landscape with rolling hills. For a full week we, about 50 students and instructors, were there to learn about NeuroDynamic Fields and robots. After the morning classes and lunch, exercises were held to use the theory in practice, and for the end of the school we were grouped and started working on different robotic projects.
Together with Martin Stoelen, I worked on the ARoS robot platform available to us at Minho. ARoS is an anthropomorphic robot, which consists of a 7DOF arm and a Barrett 3Finger hand attached as end-effector. It uses 2 FW cameras for computer vision and is aimed to be used in Human-Robot-Interaction research tasks.
In our project a joint construction task was used in which the human and the robot need to work together to construct a small toy. The interaction is forced by placing the wheels only within the humans reach and the nuts only within the robots workspace. Therefore to finish the construction the human and the robot need to hand over pieces to their counterpart. DNF were used in layers to represent a cognitive architecture somewhat human-brain-inspired to decide on the current state of the construction task, the workspace, the human’s intention and the action to be performed by the robot. Here you can see the robot in action: