“Multisensory Perception of Soft Objects”, Dr Massimiliano Di Luca

On Wednesday 3rd June 2015, Dr Massimiliano Di Luca from the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, will give a research seminar in the School of Computer Science. Everyone is welcome!

When: Wednesday 3rd June 2015 @ 4:00pm
Where: MC0024, MHT Building


Title: Multisensory Perception of Soft Objects

Softness is the subjective impression of the physical deformability of an object. When we interact with a deformable object like a pillow, sensory signals from multiple sense modalities provide information related to its compressibility (i.e. proprioceptive position, tactile force, visual deformation). Such signals dynamically depend on the way we interact with the object. Our brain has specialised mechanisms that processes this information to create a coherent perceptual representation of the compressibility of the object and to adjust motor actions accordingly. In this work I will present psychophysical experiments that employ visual-haptic virtual reality setups to investigate how we perceive the compressibility of an object while we squeeze it or while we press against its surface. The results of these studies form the basis of a computational model of softness perception where signals are combined into perceptual estimates that are then integrated according to the rules of Bayesian inference.

Users in focus – Creating service robots for and with people

Dr Astrid Weiss from Technical University Vienna, will be presenting in the SoCS research seminar. Her work is at the crossroads of robotics, computer science, Human Computer Interaction, and social sciences; investigating robotic applications in public space, elderly care and factory settings.

This is a research seminar open to attendees across the university, in particular interesting for computer science, engineering, and and social sciences.

Date/Time: 24/4/2015 10am
Place: MC2201


Astrid Weiss, TU Wien

Users in focus – Creating service robots for and with people

User involvement is a widely accepted principle in the development of usable and acceptable technology. However, it is still a vague approach in the research field of human-robot interaction. I share with you my experiences on the nature of user involvement and how it can be integrated in the development of service robots, providing examples from different contexts (elderly care, public space, factory environments, etc.) and user groups (children, older adults, naive users, expert users, etc.). I’ll present reflections from a social scientists working on human-robot interaction from several years of user studies and field work.

Astrid Weiss is a postdoctoral research fellow in HRI at the Vision4Robotics group at the ACIN Institute of Automation and Control at Vienna University of Technology (Austria). Her current research focuses on Human-Robot Cooperation in vision-based tasks and service robots for older adults. Her research is inspired by Theory of Mind and the approach of transferring findings from human-human studies to human-robot interaction in order to improve intuitiveness and acceptance. Her general research interests are user-centered design and evaluation studies for Human-Computer Interaction and Human-Robot Interaction with a focus on in-the-wild studies and controlled experiments. She is especially interested in the impact technology has on our everyday life and what makes people accept or reject technology. Before her position in Vienna she was a postdoc researcher at the HCI&Usability Unit, of the ICT&S Center, University of Salzburg, Austria and at the Christian Doppler Laboratory on “Contextual Interfaces” at University of Salzburg. Astrid holds a master’s degree in sociology and a PhD in social sciences from the University of Salzburg. During her studies she specialized on methodologies of empirical social research and applied statistics. From September 2011 until January 2012 she was on a short-term sabbatical at the University of Amsterdam, Intelligent Systems Lab and the University of Twente, HMI group to work with Vanessa Evers on Cross-Cultural studies in Human-Robot Interaction.

Wearable Intelligent Technology

Our “Interactive Hat” reacts to the presence of the people. The hat integrates technology based on artificial intelligence with a fashionable design. The hat is able to detect people using its integrated webcam, and then greets with a flashing and colourful light pattern.

This a UROS (http://studentasproducer.lincoln.ac.uk/ in collaboration with  designer Marina Walger (http://www.marinawalger.com/)

Check the video here:


CFP – Special Issue: “Representations and Reasoning for Robotics”

Call for Papers

Special Issue of Robotics on “Representations and Reasoning for Robotics”


Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2015
As the field of robotics matures, the development of ever more intelligent robots becomes possible. However, robots deployed in homes, offices and other complex domains are faced with the formidable challenge of representing, revising and reasoning with incomplete domain knowledge about their capabilities, their environments, and how the former interacts with the latter.

Many algorithms have been developed for qualitatively and quantitatively representing and reasoning with knowledge and uncertainty. Unfortunately, research contributions in this area are fragmented, making it difficult for researchers with different expertise to share advances in their respective fields. The objective of this special issue is therefore to promote a deeper understanding of recent breakthroughs and challenges in knowledge representation and reasoning for robots. We are interested in efforts that integrate, or motivate an integration of algorithms for knowledge representation and/or commonsense reasoning, on one or more robots, in different application domains.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

– Knowledge acquisition and representation
– Symbolic and probabilistic representations
– Reasoning with incomplete knowledge
– Interactive and cooperative decision-making
– Learning and symbol grounding
– Qualitative representations and reasoning

We particularly encourage the submission of papers that ground these topics in research areas such as robot perception, human–robot (and multirobot) collaboration, and robot planning.
Guest Editors

Dr. Nicola Bellotto
(University of Lincoln, UK)

Dr. Nick Hawes
(University of Birmingham, UK)

Dr. Mohan Sridharan
(The University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Prof. Daniele Nardi
(“Sapienza” Universita’ di Roma, Italy)

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Robotics is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.