The DE-ENIGMA project is developing artificial intelligence for a commercial robot (Robokind’s Zeno). The robot will be used for an emotion-recognition and emotion-expression teaching programme to school-aged autistic children. This approach combines the most common interests of children of school age: technology, cartoon characters (that Zeno resembles) and socializing with peers.
During the project, Zeno will go through several design phases, getting ‘smarter’ every time. It will be able to process children’s motions, vocalizations, and facial expressions in order to adaptively and autonomously present emotion activities, and engage in feedback, support, and play.
The project, that will run from February 2016 until August 2019, is funded by Horizon 2020 (the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation).
The crowning achievement of human communication is our unique ability to share intentionality, create and execute on joint plans. Using this paradigm we model human-robot communication as a three-step process: sharing attention, establishing common ground and forming shared goals. Prerequisites for successful communication are being able to decode the cognitive state of people around us (intention-reading) and to build trust.
The Socially Competent Robotics project – SoCoRo – is funded by EPSRC for 42 months from November 2016 and has Heriot-Watt MACS and the University of Glasgow CS as its partners. We aim to develop a robot with socially expressive behaviour that can function as a training device for high-functioning adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and help them to improve their ability to recognise social signals.