Scientific publications

Here are all the scientific publications that have seen the light under the framework of the RAPP project until today.

 

Towards an integrated robotics architecture for social inclusion – The RAPP paradigm

by Emmanouil G. Tsardoulias, Athanassios M. Kintsakis, Konstantinos Panayiotou, Aristeidis G. Thallas, Sofia E. Reppou, George G. Karagiannis, Miren Iturburu, Stratos Arampatzis, Cezary Zielinski, Vincent Prunet, Fotis E. Psomopoulos, Andreas L. Symeonidis, Pericles A. Mitkas in Journal of Cognitive Systems Research, September 2016

Abstract

Scientific breakthroughs have led to an increase in life expectancy, to the point where senior citizens comprise an ever increasing percentage of the general population. In this direction, the EU funded RAPP project “Robotic Applications for Delivering Smart User Empowering Applications” introduces socially interactive robots that will not only physically assist, but also serve as a companion to senior citizens. The proposed RAPP framework has been designed aiming towards a cloud-based integrated approach that enables robotic devices to seamlessly deploy robotic applications, relieving the actual robots from computational burdens. The Robotic Applications (RApps) developed according to the RAPP paradigm will empower consumer social robots, allowing them to adapt to versatile situations and materialize complex behaviors and scenarios. The RAPP pilot cases involve the development of RApps for the NAO humanoid robot and the ANG-MED rollator targeting senior citizens that (a) are technology illiterate, (b) have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or (c) are in the process of hip fracture rehabilitation. Initial results establish the robustness of RAPP in addressing the needs of end users and developers, as well as its contribution in significantly increasing the quality of life of senior citizens.

More at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1389041716300535

RAPP: A Robotic-Oriented Ecosystem for Delivering Smart User Empowering Applications for Older People

by Sofia E. Reppou, Emmanouil G. Tsardoulias, Athanassios M. Kintsakis, Andreas L. Symeonidis, Pericles A. Mitkas, Fotis E. Psomopoulos, George T. Karagiannis, Cezary Zielinski, Vincent Prunet, Jean-Pierre Merlet, Miren Iturburu, Alexandros Gkiokas in International Journal of Social Robotics, June 2016

Abstract

It is a general truth that increase of age is associated with a level of mental and physical decline but unfortunately the former are often accompanied by social exclusion leading to marginalization and eventually further acceleration of the aging process. A new approach in alleviating the social exclusion of older people involves the use of assistive robots. As robots rapidly invade everyday life, the need of new software paradigms in order to address the user’s unique needs becomes critical. In this paper we present a novel architectural design, the RAPP [a software platform to deliver smart, user empowering robotic applications (RApps)] framework that attempts to address this issue. The proposed framework has been designed in a cloud-based approach, integrating robotic devices and their respective applications. We aim to facilitate seamless development of RApps compatible with a wide range of supported robots and available to the public through a unified online store.

More at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12369-016-0361-z

Distributed NAO robot navigation system in the hazard detection application

by Wojciech Dudek, Konrad Banachowicz, Wojciech Szynkiewicz, September 2016

Abstract

Advanced robot control algorithms, that are based on sensor data fusion and a lot of processing, require high computational power. Hence, most of the modern robots have their own highly efficient computers. It makes the service and assistant robots costly and still unavailable for the most of the home users. In this paper the navigation system of the humanoid NAO robot is presented that is distributed through the robot and the cloud. It reduces the cost of the particular robot and makes it affordable for customers. Furthermore, the multi-agent task specification and implementation method is proposed and illustrated on an example of hazard detection task – the assistant robot application to help the elderly people to dwell at home.

More at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7575264/

Performance Evaluation of Binary Descriptors of Local Features

by Jan Figat, Tomasz Kornuta, Włodzimierz Kasprzak (WUT) in ICCVG 2014

Abstract

The article is devoted to the evaluation of performance of image features with binary descriptors for the purpose of their utilization in recognition of objects by service robots. In the conducted experiments we used the dataset and followed the methodology proposed by Mikolajczyk and Schmid. The performance analysis takes into account the discriminative power of a combination of keypoint detector and feature descriptor, as well as time consumption.

More at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-11331-9_23

Hive Collective Intelligence for Cloud Robotics A Hybrid Distributed Robotic Controller Design for Learning and Adaptation

by Alexandros Gkiokas, Emmanouil G. Tsardoulias (CERTH), Pericles A. Mitkas (CERTH) in Springer International Publishing

Abstract

The recent advent of Cloud Computing, inevitably gave rise to Cloud Robotics. Whilst the field is arguably still in its infancy, great promise is shown regarding the problem of limited computational power in Robotics. This is the most evident advantage of Cloud Robotics, but, other much more significant yet subtle advantages can now be identified. Moving away from traditional Robotics, and approaching Cloud Robotics through the prism of distributed systems or Swarm Intelligence offers quite an interesting composure; physical robots deployed across different areas, may delegate tasks to higher intelligence agents residing in the cloud. This design has certain distinct attributes, similar with the organisation of a Hive or bee colony. Such a parallelism is crucial for the foundations set hereinafter, as they express through the hive design, a new scheme of distributed robotic architectures. Delegation of agent intelligence, from the physical robot swarms to the cloud controllers, creates a unique type of Hive Intelligence, where the controllers residing in the cloud, may act as the brain of a ubiquitous group of robots, whilst the robots themselves act as proxies for the Hive Intelligence. The sensors of the hive system providing the input and output are the robots, yet the information processing may take place collectively, individually or on a central hub, thus offering the advantages of a hybrid swarm and cloud controller. The realisation that radical robotic architectures can be created and implemented with current Artificial Intelligence models, raises interesting questions, such as if robots belonging to a hive, can perform tasks and procedures better or faster, and if can they learn through their interactions, and hence become more adaptive and intelligent.

More at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-15847-1_7

Social Inclusion with Robots: A RAPP Case Study Using NAO for Technology Illiterate Elderly at Ormylia Foundation

by Sofia Reppou (Ormylia), George Karagiannis (Ormylia) in Springer International Publishing, 2015

Abstract

What really happens in terms of social inclusion and exclusion differentiates among European Countries, cultures and social groups and is being affected by socio-economic factors, social perceptions and societal changes. There are also variations among elderly in the European Union concerning their retirement from labor, institutionalization (residential or independent living), opportunities for further development or leisure and many more. A lot of EU projects focus on services that can be easy to access and affordable by elderly, enhancing the independency and autonomous living of the seniors. RAPP (EU-FP7) is addressing this need by offering a solution in the form of a software platform that will support the creation and delivery of robotic applications (RApps) targeted to people at risk of exclusion, especially older people. In this paper we are focusing to technology illiterate elderly, a group of seniors engaged for RAPP by Ormylia Foundation.

More at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-15847-1_23

Merging Robotics and AAL ontologies: The RAPP methodology

by Emmanouil G. Tsardoulias (CERTH) et al. in Springer International Publishing, 2015

Abstract

Cloud robotics is becoming a trend in the modern robotics field, as it became evident that true artificial intelligence can be achieved only by sharing collective knowledge. In the ICT area, the most common way to formulate knowledge is via the ontology concept, where different meanings connect semantically. Additionally, a considerable effort to merge robotics with assisted living concepts exists, as the modern societies suffer from lack of caregivers for the persons in need. In the current work, an attempt is made to merge a robotic and an AAL ontology, as well as utilize it in the RAPP Project (EU-FP7).

More at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-15847-1_28

User Needs and Requirements for the Mobility Assistance and Activity Monitoring Scenario within the RAPP Project

by Miren Iturburu (MATIA) et al. in Springer International Publishing, 2015

Abstract

The aim of RAPP project is to provide a software platform in order to support the creation and delivery of robotic applications (RApps) targeting people at risk of exclusion, especially older people.This paper describes the user requirements of one of the three pilots defined in RAPP: mobility assistance and activity monitoring scenario. Target users are elderly people who have been operated of hip fracture and are hospitalized at Bermingham Hospital (Matia Foundation) for rehabilitation and walking functionality recovery; the formal caregivers assisting them such as physiotherapits, physicians and nurses; and the family members.Within the RAPP project ANG-med smart rollator will be developed by Inria to assist the users during the recovery process. Functionalities, scenarios and interfaces are defined according to the user requirements collected. Of particular interest is the treatment of the ethical aspects of the project to safeguard the autonomy and dignity of the research participants.

More at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-15847-1_11

Reconfigurable Agent Architecture for Robots Utilising Cloud Computing

by Marcin Szlenk et al. in Springer International Publishing, 2015

Abstract

The paper presents the general architecture of the control system of a companion robot. As companion robots have to perform diverse and complex tasks, while computational capabilities of the local robot control computer are limited, the control system is split between the robot and the cloud. Moreover, the system is composed of agents, that are arranged into an application on demand of the user. Some of those agents are created on the robot and some in the cloud. As the requirements change the composition of the system changes too.

More at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-15847-1_25

NAO-mark vs QR-code recognition by Nao robot vision

by Jan Figat, Wlodzimierz Kasprzak (WUT) in Springer International Publishing, 2015

Abstract

Nowadays, the research on robot on-map localization while using landmarks is more intensively dealing with visual code recognition. One of the most popular landmarks of this type is the QR-code. This paper is devoted to the experimental evaluation of vision-based on-map localization procedures that apply QR-codes or NAO marks, as implemented in service robot control systems. In particular, the NAO humanoid robot is our test-bed platform, while the use of robotic systems for hazard detection is the motivation of this study. Especially, the robot can be a useful aid for elderly people affected by dementia and cognitive disorientation. The detection of the door opening is assumed to be important to ensure safety in the home environment. Thus, the paper focus on door opening detection while using QR-codes.

More at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-15847-1_6

Assistive Robots as Future Caregivers: The RAPP Approach

by Pericles A. Mitkas (CERTH) in Automation Conference 2015 (March 18-20)

Abstract

As our societies are affected by a dramatic demographic change, the percentage of elderly and people requiring support in their daily life is expected to increase in the near future and caregivers will not be enough to assist and support them. Socially interactive robots can help confront this situation not only by physically assisting people but also by functioning as a companion. The rising sales figures of robots point towards a trend break concerning robotics. To lower the cost for developers and to increase their interest in developing robotic applications, the RAPP approach introduces the idea of robots as platforms. RAPP (A Software Platform for Delivering Smart User Empowering Robotic Applications) aims to provide a software platform in order to support the creation and delivery of robotic applications (RApps) targeting people at risk of exclusion, especially older people. The open-source software platform will provide an API with the required functionality for the implementation of RApps. It will also provide access to the robots’ sensors and actuators employing higher level commands, by adding a middleware stack with functionalities suitable for different kinds of robots. RAPP will expand the robots’ computational and storage capabilities and enable machine learning operations, distributed data collection and processing. Through a special repository for RApps, the platform will support knowledge sharing among robots in order to provide personalized applications based on adaptation to individuals. The use of a common API will facilitate the development of improved applications deployable for a variety of robots. These applications target people with different needs, capabilities and expectations, while at the same time respect their privacy and autonomy. The RAPP approach can lower the cost of robotic applications development and it is expected to have a profound effect in the robotics market.

More at: http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-15847-1_17

Assistive and Companion Robots in the frame of the RAPP project

by S. Reppou, G. Karagiannis in 6th Panhellenic Conference of Biomedical Technology Conference, Athens, Greece, 2015

Reconfigurable Control Architecture for Exploratory Robots

by Zieliński C., Szynkiewicz W., Figat M., Szlenk M., Kornuta T., Kasprzak W., Stefańczyk M., Zielińska T., Figat J in Romoco 015, Poznan, Poland, 2015

Distributed, reconfigurable architecture for robot companions exemplified by a voice-mail application

by Figat M., Kornuta T., Szlenk M., Zieliński C. in MMAR 2015, Międzyzdroje, Poland, 2015

An automatic speech detection architecture for social robot oral interaction

by Manos Tsardoulias, Andreas Symeonidis and Pericles Mitkas in Audio Mostly 2015, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2015

Abstract

Social robotics have become a trend in contemporary robotics research, since they can be successfully used in a wide range of applications. One of the most fundamental communication skills a robot must have is the oral interaction with a human, in order to provide feedback or accept commands. And, although text-to-speech is an almost solved problem, this isn’t the case for speech detection, since it includes a large number of different conditions, many of which are literally unpredictable. There are quite a few well established ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) tools, however without providing efficient results, especially in less popular languages. The current paper investigates different speech detection strategies via the utilization of the Sphinx-4 opensource library. The first is a way to incorporate languages for which no acoustic or language model exists (Greek in our case), following the grapheme-to-phoneme concept. The speech detection model is evaluated using audio captured from a NAO v4 robot, a difficult task due to the high levels of included noise, thus denoising techniques are investigated as well.

More at: http://issel.ee.auth.gr/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/An-automatic-speech-detection-architecture-for-social-robot-oral-interaction.pdf

Robots and seniors: can they be friends?

by Sophia Reppou in New Friends 2015, Almere, The Netherlands, 2015

How robots can help people with disabilities in daily activities

by Miren Iturburu in 6th CENTAC Congress on Accessibility Technologies, Bilbao, Spain, 2015

Robot-assisted cognitive exercise in mild cognitive impairment patients: The RAPP approach

by Athanassios Kintsakis, Sofia Reppou, George Karagiannis, Pericles Mitkas, The 5th IEEE International
Conference on E-Health and Bioengineering – EHB 2015, Iasi, Romania, 2015

Abstract

Medical advances have increased life expectancy to the point where senior citizens comprise a larger than ever percentage of the general population. The RAPP project introduces socially interactive robots that will not only physically assist, but also serve as a companion to senior citizens. In this paper, a novel system is presented, designed as part of the RAPP project that aims to assist senior citizens with mild cognitive impairment in performing cognitive tests as a means of exercise, while also keeping track of their performance. Our goal is to provide an interactive and intriguing user friendly alternative to the classic cognitive tests that will keep the patient interested and thus increase compliance. Tracking the patient’s performance in the cognitive tests can prove invaluable as the data can be further associated with medical treatment or lifestyle changes and conclusively lead to better understanding of the nature of cognitive decline.

More at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Athanassios_Kintsakis/publication/302461242_Robot-assisted_cognitive_exercise_in_mild_cognitive_impairment_patients_The_RAPP_approach/links/5730958d08ae6cca19a1e9cc.pdf

RAPP: A Robotic-Oriented Ecosystem for Delivering Smart User Empowering Applications for Older People.

by Reppou, Sofia E., Emmanouil G. Tsardoulias, Athanassios M. Kintsakis, Andreas L. Symeonidis, Pericles A. Mitkas, Fotis E. Psomopoulos, George T. Karagiannis et al. International Journal of Social Robotics 8, no. 4 (2016): 539-552.

Abstract

It is a general truth that increase of age is associated with a level of mental and physical decline but unfortunately the former are often accompanied by social exclusion leading to marginalization and eventually further acceleration of the aging process. A new approach in alleviating the social exclusion of older people involves the use of assistive robots. As robots rapidly invade everyday life, the need of new software paradigms in order to address the user’s unique needs becomes critical. In this paper we present a novel architectural design, the RAPP [a software platform to deliver smart, user empowering robotic applications (RApps)] framework that attempts to address this issue. The proposed framework has been designed in a cloud-based approach, integrating robotic devices and their respective applications. We aim to facilitate seamless development of RApps compatible with a wide range of supported robots and available to the public through a unified online store.

More at: https://hal.inria.fr/hal-01336250/document

Towards an integrated robotics architecture for social inclusion–The RAPP paradigm.

by Tsardoulias, Emmanouil G., Athanassios M. Kintsakis, Konstantinos Panayiotou, Aristeidis G. Thallas, Sofia E. Reppou, George G. Karagiannis, Miren Iturburu et al. Cognitive Systems Research (2016).

Abstract

Scientific breakthroughs have led to an increase in life expectancy, to the point where senior citizens comprise an ever increasing percentage of the general population. In this direction, the EU funded RAPP project “Robotic Applications for Delivering Smart User Empowering Applications” introduces socially interactive robots that will not only physically assist, but also serve as a companion to senior citizens. The proposed RAPP framework has been designed aiming towards a cloud-based integrated approach that enables robotic devices to seamlessly deploy robotic applications, relieving the actual robots from computational burdens. The Robotic Applications (RApps) developed according to the RAPP paradigm will empower consumer social robots, allowing them to adapt to versatile situations and materialize complex behaviors and scenarios. The RAPP pilot cases involve the development of RApps for the NAO humanoid robot and the ANG-MED rollator targeting senior citizens that a) are technology illiterate, b) have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment or c) are in the process of hip fracture rehabilitation. Initial results establish the robustness of RAPP in addressing the needs of end users and developers, as well as its contribution in significantly increasing the quality of life of senior citizens.

More at: http://issel.ee.auth.gr/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/COGSYS_2016_R1.pdf

Nao Robot Navigation System Structure Development in an Agent-Based Architecture of the RAPP Platform.

by Dudek, Wojciech, Wojciech Szynkiewicz, and Tomasz Winiarski. In Challenges in Automation, Robotics and Measurement Techniques, pp. 623-633. Springer International Publishing, 2016.

Abstract

This paper focuses on development of a navigation system structure for the Nao humanoid robot in an agent-oriented distributed architecture. The proposed navigation system is a part of RAPP framework, a cloud robotics platform. The RAPP framework is an open-source software platform to support the creation and delivery of robotic applications, which are expected to increase the versatility and utility of robots. All navigation tasks are defined and divided into separate components. Our robot navigation system consists of a relative localisation based on Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) using both IMU and odometry measurements, visual QR-code based global localization, path planning, and motion control components. The proper allocation of navigation components, in the four-agent structure of the RAPP platform, is the main goal of this work. Navigation system components are implemented using Robot Operating System and Nao robot programming framework – NAOqi. Experimental results for the Nao robot are presented to show the validity of the proposed approach.

More at:  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tomasz_Winiarski/publication/296993792_Nao_Robot_Navigation_System_Structure_Development_in_an_Agent-Based_Architecture_of_the_RAPP_Platform/links/56dc56c908aebabdb414214f.pdf

Method Specification of a companion-robot (Metoda specyfikacji robota-kompana).

by Figat, M., and C. Zieliński. Prace Naukowe Politechniki Warszawskiej. Elektronika (2016): 39-49.

The RAPP project: Robotic applications for older-adult cognitive games.

by Reppou, S. E., K. L. Panayiotou, and G. Karagiannis. Gerontechnology 15, no. suppl (2016): 158s.

Relieving Robots from Their Burdens: The Cloud Agent Concept (Short Paper).

by Thallas, Aristeidis G., Konstantinos Panayiotou, Emmanouil Tsardoulias, Andreas L. Symeonidis, Pericles A. Mitkas, and George G. Karagiannis. In Cloud Networking (Cloudnet), 2016 5th IEEE International Conference on, pp. 188-191. IEEE, 2016.

Abstract

The consumer robotics concept has already invaded our everyday lives, however two major drawbacks have become apparent both for the roboticists and the consumers. The first is that these robots are pre-programmed to perform specific tasks and usually their software is proprietary, thus not open to “interventions”. The second is that even if their software is open source, low-cost robots usually lack sufficient resources such as CPU power or memory capabilities, thus forbidding advanced algorithms to be executed in-robot. Within the context of RAPP (Robotic Applications for Delivering Smart User Empowering Applications) we treat robots as platforms, where applications can be downloaded and automatically deployed. Furthermore, we propose and implement a novel multi-agent architecture, empowering robots to offload computations in entities denoted as Cloud Agents. This paper discusses the respective architecture in detail.

More at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7776599/

Multi-agent navigation system for service robots with a cloud computing support.

by Dudek, Wojciech, Szynkiewicz, Wojciech, Winiarski, Tomasz. Paper presented at the 14 Krajowa Konferencja Robotyki, Polanica-Zdrój Poland, September 2016.

Distributed NAO robot navigation system in the hazard detection application.

by Dudek, Wojciech, Konrad Banachowicz, Wojciech Szynkiewicz, and Tomasz Winiarski. In Methods and Models in Automation and Robotics (MMAR), 2016 21st International Conference on, pp. 942-947. IEEE, 2016.

Abstract

Advanced robot control algorithms, that are based on sensor data fusion and a lot of processing, require high computational power. Hence, most of the modern robots have their own highly efficient computers. It makes the service and assistant robots costly and still unavailable for the most of the home users. In this paper the navigation system of the humanoid NAO robot is presented that is distributed through the robot and the cloud. It reduces the cost of the particular robot and makes it affordable for customers. Furthermore, the multi-agent task specification and implementation method is proposed and illustrated on an example of hazard detection task – the assistant robot application to help the elderly people to dwell at home.

More at:  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Tomasz_Winiarski/publication/308777685_Distributed_NAO_robot_navigation_system_in_the_hazard_detection_application/links/57ef6efe08ae91deaa510e5a.pdf

Variable structure controllers for social robots.

by Cezary Zieliński, …, (2016). Polish National Conference on Robotics.

Different Levels of Needs to Design a Smart-Rollator for Gait Rehabilitation Programs: Working with Health Professionnals.

by Fage Charles, Daney David, Iturburu Miren and Merlet Jean-Pierre. Paper presented at the Workshop Assistance and Service Robotics in a Human Environment, International Conference on Intelligent Robots and System, Daejon, Korea, October 9-14, 2016.

User driven design of a smart rollator for rehabilitation after hip fracture.

by Iturburu, M., E. Aldaz, J. Yanguas, C. Alderete, and M. Alvarez de Arcaya. Gerontechnology 15, no. suppl (2016): 127s.

Variable structure robot control systems – the RAPP approach

by Cezary Zielinskia, Maciej Stefanczyka, Tomasz Kornutaa, Maksym Figata, Wojciech Dudeka, Wojciech Szynkiewicza, Włodzimierz Kasprzaka, Jan Figata, Marcin Szlenka, Tomasz Winiarskia, Konrad Banachowicza, Teresa Zielinskab, Emmanouil G. Tsardouliasc, Andreas L. Symeonidisc, Fotis E. Psomopoulosc, Athanassios M. Kintsakisd, Pericles A. Mitkasd, Aristeidis Thallasd, Sofia E. Reppoue, George T. Karagiannise, Konstantinos Panayiotoue, Vincent Prunetf, Manuel Serranof, Stratos Arampatzisg, Alexandros Giokasg, Lazaros Penteridisg, Ilias Trochidisg, David Daneyh, Miren Iturburui, October 2016

Abstract

This paper presents a method of designing variable structure control systems for robots. As the on-board robot computational resources are limited, but in some cases the demands imposed on the robot by the user are virtually limitless, the solution is to produce a variable structure system. The task dependent part has to be exchanged, however the task governs the activities of the robot. Thus not only exchange of some task-dependent modules is required, but also supervisory responsibilities have to be switched. Such control systems are necessary in the case of robot companions, where the owner of the robot may demand from it to provide many services.