PRIMI: Performance in Robots Interaction via Mental Imagery


The next generation of personal robotic systems needs to reach a level of cognition and motor intelligence that provides autonomy in any environment, effective interaction with humans, and adaptation of their actions to a broad range of open, dynamic situations. Robots are expected to be able to predict perceptual and functional changes that result from human actions and replicate human activities taking into consideration their own capabilities and limitations. The required human-like physical performance and reasoning cannot be achieved with the mainstream AI and robotics paradigms, because they are missing the required co-design of body (robot) and mind (AI) and are based on inefficient computing and sensing resources that cannot be scaled up to the required level. To go beyond what is currently possible, PRIMI will synergistically combine research and development in neurophysiology, psychology, machine intelligence, cognitive mechatronics, neuromorphic engineering, and humanoid robotics to build developmental models of higher-cognition abilities – mental imagery, abstract reasoning, and theory of mind – boosted by energy-efficient event-driven computing and sensing. It will produce a new unifying concept for the next generation of autonomous interaction technologies, capable of more autonomous, faster, safer, and precise interaction with real-time learning and adaptation, thanks to the integration of the capabilities to mentally represent themselves, the physical and social worlds, resemble experiences and simulate actions. PRIMI’s ambition is to induce a paradigm shift in AI and robotics to create truly autonomous socially interactive robots, which will offer new technological perspectives for transforming personal robotic services. As a proof-of-principle of the technological advancement in a relevant scenario, prototypes of neuromorphic humanoid robots will be validated in clinical pilot studies of robot-led physical rehabilitation of stroke survivors.

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