1st General Assembly Meeting – MobiSpaces – Vienna 23-24 Jan 2023
We hope that all partners safely returned home today after 2 days of intensive and productive discussions in Vienna.
The DS4 work to date and forthcoming plans have been presented by our expert Dr Sonia Cisneros-Cabrera; the rest of the team attended and contributed virtually.
The picture doesn’t do justice to the way Sonia captivated the audience– thank you Sonia!
MobiSpaces Webinar – 31 Jan 2023
We are delighted to share the news about the first MobiSpaces webinar which will take place on 31 Jan 2023 between 11 am and 12.15 pm CET. The topic is ‘Meet the MobiSpaces Use Cases: Innovations for Urban and Maritime Domains’.
For the webinar description and registration link click here
If you have an interest in environment or mobility-related data as a researcher, policy maker, software developer or citizen scientist, we are urging you to attend and hear first-hand from our 5 Use Cases partners and project coordinators.
We humans have been dreaming of artificially intelligent beings for quite a while. Enter Talon/Talos, a giant robot protecting Crete from pirates by circling her shores three times daily. But the relationships between “us” and “them” has mostly been one of conflict and dominance – for example in 1920s play by Karel Čapek ‘Rossum’s Universal Robots’ humanity is taken to extinction by the robots created by us.
Roll forward 100 years or so and the reality is slightly different. Our robots today are not “universal” but specialised in a small number of functions, where they excel but are largely incapable of sorting problems beyond the routine events at the workplace. And they are quite far away from being self-conscious never mind rebelling.
In this context, it seems the optimal arrangement is the one where we use robots to augment the human intelligence. AI can complement human analytical and decision-making abilities, with humans adding creativity to the collaboration. According to Wilson and Daugherty writing for HBR, smart machines can expand human capabilities in three ways; by amplifying our cognitive strength, by interacting with our customers using chatbots, and by embedding our skills in a cobot. Autodesk’s Dreamcatcher is an example of AI enhancing the creative imagination of exceptional designers. Cortana is a good example of human and AI interaction to facilitate communication between people. Cobots are AI machines that can work alongside humans in factories hence embedding human skills.
The last scenario is our focus at present – it would be great to have robots and humans work side-by-side, each playing to their strengths. This is also AI but now expanded into “augmented intelligence”, and the robots collaborating with humans are called “cobots”, or collaborative robots.
This shape of human-AI collaboration increases productivity by assisting workers in routine tasks, ensuring consistency and quality improvement. Human workers are there when there are problems to be solved.
There are some challenges in this arrangement however. If humans and cobots interact in shared spaces, we should ensure they don’t get in each other’s way. Cobots are mostly fixed, resembling a robotic arm, a technician is involved in the initial setup but at a later stage, the robot starts learning from human actions
Another challenge is ensuring that the human understands what the cobot is doing, and that they can control the behaviour to optimise results according to the changing context of work. This requires special effort in designing the control interface of the cobot, driven by UX principles but going beyond them.
Human-cobot teaming scenarios are rapidly explored nowadays with the aim to have a safe and seamless environment for collaborative tasks. One appealing application would be to use robots in environments which are not fully suited for humans, for example in very dusty circumstances or within a limited width and height tunnels, and have humans watch “over the robot’s shoulder”, coming to the rescue if something gets stuck. This will be robot in routine work and cobot when problems need to be resolved.
Such an application is envisioned in the RoBetArme EU-funded project under grant agreement No 101058731. A movable robot will be executing the routine task of shotcreting – applying high-pressure mixture of cement, air and water to tunnel walls and ceilings to create even concrete covering. The environment is full of dust and the tunnels could be quite small in size, making the application of shotcreting nearly impossible for a human worker. At the same time, training a shotcrete operator takes 10 years and this is a very skillful job, with expert knowledge about how to lay the shotcrete but also how to resolve problems such as when one of the pipes bringing the mix to the nozzle gets clogged. In the remaining 36 months of the project we will endevour to prototype a collaborative human-robot system which can capture the best each party can offer, with the robot operating the shotcreting nozzle and the human operator helping out when problems arise (as they do).
More research needs to be done to understand mechanisms for human actions, if we are to have successful collaboration with AI systems.
 Wilson, H. J., & Daugherty, P. R. (2018). Collaborative intelligence: Humans and AI are joining forces. Harvard Business Review, 96(4), 114-123.
While the festive celebrations are currently in full swing, our project work is still in full motion. This is a brief update of the work carried out by the DS4 team in the last few weeks:
We attended the EFPF Final Event in Brussels and presented an example of our open call results to a wide audience.
Jointly with our collaborators from Kodar we visited the Medical University of Plovdiv and discussed the need for localisation of the iHelp software. Thank you MUP team for making us so welcome!
We attended the 2nd Plenary meeting of the RoBetArme project in Copenhagen at the premises of one of the construction partners. It was a great chance to participate in the brain-storming sessions with the other enthusiastic partners. The highlight for us must be observing the shorcreting demonstration.
We are planning our participation in the First General Assembly Meeting of the MobiSpaces project which will take place in January 2023 in Vienna. We are looking forward to meeting our partners again in order to align our work so far and our viewpoints at the early stages of this project.
Today we note the World Pancreatic Cancer Day and would like to raise awareness about this disease which has one of the lowest survival rates for any kind of cancer.
Our team is proudly involved in the project iHelp funded by the European Union. The system will use advance AI-based learning and decision support techniques for identifying and mitigating the risks associated with the Pancreatic Cancer. It will also provide personalised recommendations to its users. Click on this link to find out more about the iHelp project.
We just attended the Kick off Meeting in Athens of this new European Project. It has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101070279. Our contribution will be mainly in the area of secure and trustworthy data handling.
Meanwhile the work on the iHelp project continues in full speed and we reported on our progress to date at the 7th Consortium meeting in Rome along all the other partners. Thank you for the presentation Nadia 😊
Time is flying on this project and we can’t believe that we are already planning the iHelp usability evaluations task.
Our DS4 team worked hard over the summer wrapping up Systems and Deliverables in the EFPF and iHelp projects, taking part in the Kick-off Meeting of the RoBetArme project and planning for the start on a new exciting project in September.
Thank you goes to all our researchers, collaborators and partners for their contributions in delivering the project work on time.
We are part of a large consortium of 19 partners from 12 Member states who will work together to deliver a human-robot collaborative construction system for shotcrete digitization and automation through advanced perception, cognition, mobility and additive manufacturing skills.
Digital Systems 4.0 is looking after the user-driven development and evaluation of the software systems, applying the lessons learned in previous EC projects such as iHelp.
The pre-kick-off meeting took place in June 2022 as a Teleconference and we are now looking forward to meeting the partners personally at the kick-off meeting in Thessaloniki in July 2022.