The project RobotBodySchema (or “Robot self-calibration and safe physical human-robot interaction inspired by body representations in primate brains”) aims to study the mechanisms of how the brain represents the body. These mechanisms will then be modelled using robots, and then brain-inspired algorithms will be applied to make robots more autonomous and safe.

The Project

Robots often rely on preprogrammed models and lack the capacity to adapt to unexpected changes to their bodies or environments. Furthermore, they often blindly execute movements and the perception of contacts is absent. Humans, on the other hand, seamlessly control their complex bodies, adapt to growth or failures, and use tools. Exploiting multimodal sensory information plays a key part in these processes. However, the mechanisms of how the brain represents the body and the space around it are not fully understood.

The aim of this project is to use a humanoid robot equipped with a whole-body artificial skin array to, first, develop embodied computational models of the development and operation of body representations. Second, we target two application areas where a robot with sensitive skin provides a key enabling technology: (i) automatic self-calibration, and (ii) safe and intelligent physical man-machine interaction through whole-body "awareness" coming from visuo-tactile information.

Click here for the project website.

Principal Investigator

Matej Hoffmann

Matej Hoffmann received the MSc degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, from Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2006. Between 2006 and 2013 he completed the PhD degree and then served as Senior Research Associate at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, University of Zurich, Switzerland (Prof. Rolf Pfeifer). In May 2013 he joined the iCub Facility of the Italian Institute of Technology (Prof. Giorgio Metta), supported by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship iCub Body Schema (2014-2016). In January 2017, he joined the Department of Cybernetics, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague where he's leading a group (see the group website) focused on cognitive, neuro- , collaborative, and humanoid robotics. His research interests include synthetic approaches to embodied cognition in general and body and peripersonal space representations in particular.

Partner Institution

The Czech Technical University in Prague is one of the biggest and oldest technical universities in Europe. It was founded on the initiative of Josef Christian Willenberg on the basis of a decree issued on January 18th, 1707 by Emperor Josef I. CTU currently has eight faculties (Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Nuclear Science and Physical Engineering, Architecture, Transportation Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Information Technology) and about 21,000 students. For the 2017/18 academic year, CTU in Prague is offering its students 128 study programmes within the framework of which there are 453 fields of study. CTU educates modern specialists, scientists and managers with knowledge of foreign languages, who are dynamic, flexible and can adapt quickly to the requirements of the market.