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2014

ALCOR Lab at euRobotics Week


ALCOR@euRobotics Week

In the context of the 4th edition of the euRobotics Week, promoted by euRobotics AISBL - The European association for a Public-Private Partnership in robotics - ALCOR opens its robotics laboratory, November 26 2014. ALCOR lab members will illustrate the research activities on perception and autonomous navigation of the actively articulated tracked vehicle Absolem, endowed with the Kinova arm Jaco for manipulation. This robot has been designed to assist responders in search and rescue interventions. You will also have the chance to see the Gaze Machine, a head mounted device, designed by us, which allows to estimate at each instant, where the person who wears it look, in the 3D environment. Actually, this device is used in many research and scientific studies (e.g. computational attention, psychology, psychophysiology), medical diagnosis of various conditions and syndromes as well as Augmented Reality and Robotics.


TRADR Joint Exercise 2014

From September 23rd to October 2nd the first TRADR Joint Exercise took place at the Tremora hospital (ex American hospital of Calambrone) near Pisa, Italy, in cooperation between the TRADR partners and the firefighters from the Fire Brigade of Pisa. ALCOR lab participated at the exercise with its own UGV and the Gaze Machine.

The first week was dedicated to the appropriate set-up and test of the system with the necessary integration of the developed functionalities.

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First TRADR Joint Exercise

From September 23rd to October 2nd the first TRADR Joint Exercise will take place at the Tremora hospital (ex American hospital of Calambrone) near Pisa, Italy. ALCOR lab will participate at the exercise with its own UGV and the Gaze Machine together with other TRADR partners, firefighters from the Firebrigade of Pisa, other UGVs and UAVs.

One of the goals is to test the system components and afterwards run the system at the hospital site with the participation of the end-users. The end-user's input and feedback during the Joint Exercise, is another important aspect. Moreover, useful data will be collected and component level experiments will be run. The use cases that will be tested deal with multiple asynchronous sorties and large-scale static disaster.


Two new PhD students

We welcome Manuel Ruiz, highest ranked applicant, and Federico Nardi as new PhD students in our lab!


IROS 2014: Presentation of our papers Real-time Autonomous 3D Navigation for Tracked Vehicles in Rescue Environments and Point Cloud Segmentation and 3D Path Planning for Tracked Vehicles in Cluttered and Dynamic Environments.

The 2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2014) will be held between September 14 and 18, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The members of ALCOR Lab Mario Gianni and Matteo Menna will be presenting the papers Real-time Autonomous 3D Navigation for Tracked Vehicles in Rescue Environments and Point Cloud Segmentation and 3D Path Planning for Tracked Vehicles in Cluttered and Dynamic Environments (3rd IROS Workshop on Robots in Clutter: Perception and Interaction in Clutter), both co-authored with Federico Ferri, Matteo Menna and Fiora Pirri. The paper abstracts are presented below.

Real-time Autonomous 3D Navigation for Tracked Vehicles in Rescue Environments

Abstract: The paper presents a novel framework for 3D autonomous navigation for tracked vehicles. The framework takes care of clustering and segmentation of point clouds,traversability analysis, autonomous 3D path planning, motion planning and flippers control. Results illustrated in an experiment section show that the framework is promising to face harsh terrains. Robot performance is proved in three main experiments taken in a training rescue area, on fire escape stairs and in a non-planar testing environment, built ad-hoc to prove 3D path planning functionalities. Performance tests are also presented.

Point Cloud Segmentation and 3D Path Planning for Tracked  Vehicles in Cluttered and Dynamic Environments

Abstract: The paper presents a framework for tracked vehicle 3D path planning in rough areas, with dynamic obstacles. The framework provides methods for real-time point cloud interpretation, segmentation and traversabilty analysis tacking also into account changes such as dynamic obstacles and provides a terrain structure interpretation. Moreover the paper presents R2A* an extended version of randomized A* coping with difficult terrains and complex paths for non-holonomic robots.


ALCOR Lab at OpenDIAG 2014

ALCOR Lab has successfully presented its research activities at the open day event OpenDIAG, organized by the Department of Computer, Control and Management Engineering Antonio Ruberti. The event took place on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 April, and about 600 visitors came in the department in order to get information about the degrees, the courses and the research groups.

ALCOR Lab members have presented two demonstrations, the Gaze Machine and the navigation and perception of the robot BlueBotics Absolem. There were also showcased two videos regarding the research area of computer graphics.

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The Rector of Sapienza University of Rome, Luigi Frati, with our Absolem robot


Discover DIAG and Alcor Lab at OpenDIAG 2014

The Department of Computer, Control, and Management Engineering Antonio Ruberti will be opening its doors to prospective students, during the open day event OpenDIAG. The event will take place on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 April, from 10.00 till 19:00 on Friday and from 10:00 till 13:00 on Saturday.

The members of ALCOR Lab are inviting everyone to visit our stand, watch our demonstrations and get informed about our research activities.

More information and the program (in italian) can be found here.


New video on our YouTube channel:

Realtime Autonomous 3D Navigation for Tracked Vehicles in Rescue Environments

 

Demo of our framework for 3D path planning and control. The robot is equipped with a 3D laser scanner. The acquired point cloud is segmented in ground, stairs/ramps, and walls. A traversability graph is then built, and a minimal cost path is searched for. A 3D motion control is responsible of plan execution. The autonomous capabilities of the robot have been tested in three different scenarios: firefighter's training area at Prato, (Italy), fire escape stairs at the Department of Computer Control and Management Engineering (DIAG), Rome (Italy), and a 3D test environment purposefully designed to plan non-planar paths.


NIFTi Year 4 Review Meeting / TRADR Kickoff Meeting

From January 28th to 31st, Alcor members have been involved, together with the other partners, into the activities of the NIFTi Year 4 Review Meeting and the TRADR Kickoff Meeting. The first took place at the Provincial Command of the Italian Firefighters in Prato and the second at the Command of the Italian Firefighters in Pisa. The NIFTi EU FP7 project has come to its end after four years of continuous development and great achievements in the field of Rescue Robotics, giving birth to the new TRADR EU FP7 project which builds on the experience and research of the NIFTi project.

During the NIFTi Review Meeting all partners have given oral presentations about their overall efforts, progress and final results, in front of the reviewers and the project officer.Moreover the research teams have provided successful demonstrations at the firefighter’s training rescue camp, showing the overall integration of the multi-robot-based system which has been proven capable of supporting firefighters and rescuers in real Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) actions.

After the oral presentations and the demonstrations, the reviewers gave their final feedback and grade. “On a scale from 1 to 4, where 1 is excellent, we would like to give you a 0”, were their words at the end of the meeting.

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ICRA 2014 Workshop: Robots in Homes and Industry: Where to Look First?

Call for Papers

ICRA 2014: half-day workshop on

Robots in Homes and Industry: Where to Look First?

01 June 2014, Hong Kong, China

 

Visual search in complex scenes remains a challenging problem as robots start to move into less structured factory floors and homes. The recent move to RGB-D processing has helped simplify some vision problems, but also led to increased amounts of data to be processed. In these scenarios robots will always face situations, no matter how optimised and parallelised the vision algorithms, where the visual input is too overwhelming to process within the time constraints of the task at hand.

Visual attention is an integral part of human vision that allows humans to process the relevant parts of a scene from a large sensory stream within the harsh time constraints of real world tasks. Robotic vision research has realised the importance of attention mechanisms, and many systems use some form of attention to direct the processing to the parts of the sensory input that are potentially of interest, such as objects emerging from a supporting plane. The last decade has also seen an increasing number of principled approaches on making attention mechanisms an integral part also of robotic vision systems.

This poses a number of interesting challenges, such as selection of suitable mechanisms from a large body of work on biologically plausible attention models, fusing general purpose bottom-up and task-driven top-down attention mechanisms, how to use attention in a given task setting to guarantee robot performance within specific time constraints, how to integrate attention algorithmically into the various processes of an integrated robotic architecture, and coping with conflicting goals such as paying attention to avoid collision with humans while looking at task relevant target locations.

In order to tackle these problems, the robotics community needs continuous collaboration and communication with researchers on the psychology and neurology of biological vision systems. While the algorithms and architectural implementations will necessarily differ, insights from biological vision are highly relevant in this still poorly understood field of robot vision.

 

Organizing Committee

Michael Zillich (Vienna University of Technology, Austria)

Simone Frintrop (University of Bonn, Germany)

Fiora Pirri (University of Rome, Italy)

Jim Little (University of British Columbia, Canada)

Ekaterina Potapova (Vienna University of Technology, Austria)

 

For more information about the workshop and the submission process please visit the workshop's website.


HRI 2014 Workshop: Attention Models in Robotics : Visual Systems for Better HRI

Call for Papers

HRI 2014: half-day workshop on

Attention Models in Robotics: Visual Systems for Better HRI

03 March 2014, Bielefeld, Germany

 

Attention is a concept of human perception that enables human subjects to select the potentially relevant parts out of the huge amount of sensory data and that enables interactions with other human subjects by sharing attention with each other. These abilities are also of large interest for autonomous robots, therefore, interest in modeling concepts of human attention computationally has increased strongly in the robotics community during the last decade. Especially in human-robot interaction, the ability to detect what a human partner is attending to and to act in a similar way to enable intuitive communication, are important skills for a robotic system.

Still, there exists a gap in knowledge transfer between researchers in human attention and robotic researchers with their specific, often task-related, problems. Both communities can mutually benefit from each other by sharing ideas. In the workshop, researchers in visual and multi-modal attention can profit from the rapidly growing field of robotics, which offers new and challenging research questions with very concrete applicability to challenging problems. Robotic researchers can learn how to integrate attention to support natural and real-time HRI.

 

Organizing Committee

Michael Zillich (Vienna University of Technology, Austria)

Simone Frintrop (University of Bonn, Germany)

Fiora Pirri (University of Rome, Italy)

Ekaterina Potapova (Vienna University of Technology, Austria)

Markus Vincze (Vienna University of Technology, Austria)

 

For more information about the workshop and the submission process please visit the workshop's website.

 
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