Robotics in Bielefeld Upgrades its European Profile: Four Million Euros in EU Third-Party Funds for Bielefeld University

Its research focus on "Interactive Intelligent Systems" firmly embeds Bielefeld University in the advanced ranks of European research, and it has gained a major increase in EU third-party funding in the highly competitive 7th Research Programme.

The 7th Research Programme of the European Union focuses strongly on future technologies such as robot systems as well as knowledge, cognitive, and learning systems. The EU is encouraging international consortia to offer the best and most innovative solutions to the future challenges facing European societies and companies.
Bielefeld University, represented by the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) and the Centre of Excellence on Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC), is currently participating in seven projects within the current 7th Research Programme of the European Union (2007–2013).

ITALK - Integration and Transfer of Action and Language Knowledge in Robots
AMARSI – Adaptive Modular Architectures for Rich Motor Skills
HUMAVIPS - Humanoids with auditory and visual abilities in populated spaces
MONARCA - Monitoring, treatment and prediction of bipolar disorder episodes
MONNET – Multilingual Ontologies for Networked Knowledge
RobotDoC Collegium – ROBOTics for Development of Cognition
openAIRE – Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe

The AMARSI project is being coordinated by Bielefeld University together with 10 project partners from six countries and a total budget of seven million Euros. The project coordinator is Prof. Dr. Jochen Steil from the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab). By participating in these projects, scientists at Bielefeld have quadrupled their EU third-party funding. Whereas approximately one million Euros of EU research funding flowed to Bielefeld in the previous 6th Research Programme of the European Union, current funding has already attained four million Euros, and we are only halfway through the 7th Research Programme. The success on the European level impressively underlines the high scientific quality of Bielefeld's researchers, their excellent international networks, and their leading position in the field of intelligent interactive systems. Alongside the great number of European partners including, for example, the ETH Zurich, the University of Plymouth, the Italian Institute of Technology, and the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Bielefeld's project partners also include major non-European research centres such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States and the RIKEN Brain Institute in Japan.

The projects:

AMARSI – Adaptive Modular Architectures for Rich Motor Skills

The AMARSI project aims to improve the motor skills of robots and make them more similar to their biological models. Drives have to be designed to be elastic, and new kinds of control technology have to be developed for dynamic and learning systems. The focus is on flexible crawling, playing ball games, balancing, lifting to stand, sitting, and learning body coordination in general for the child-like robot iCub along with the development of a new four-legged dog robot. For this interdisciplinary task, it is important to understand the human motor system and use it as a basis for technical models.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Jochen Steil, Prof. Dr. Thomas Schack, Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Wrede

ITALK: Integration and Transfer of Action and Language Knowledge in Robots

The goal of the ITALK project is to further develop artificial physical agents – such as the humanoid iCub platform – that are learning the complex cognitive and verbal behavior in social interaction. This means that the robot may anticipate simplified behavior in a human interaction partner when this partner notices that the robot is still unable to do very much. The natural behavior of parents toward their children is being taken as a model here.

Project management: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Dr.-Ing. Britta Wrede, PD Dr. Katharina Rohlfing

MONARCA - Monitoring, treatment and prediction of bipolar disorder episodes

The MONARCA project is developing a technological system for the continuous assessment of state-relevant information on manic-depressive patients suffering from what is known as bipolar affective disorders. Sensors in a smart phone, a sock-integrated sensor, a heart rate monitor, and regular EEG recordings deliver the data for this innovative early warning, treatment, and eventually also self-treatment system. The design of the MONARCA system will comply with all relevant safety, data protection, and medical regulations and ensure interoperability with existing medical workflows composed of medical information systems.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Helge Ritter, Dr. Thomas Hermann

MONNET – Multilingual Ontologies for Networked Knowledge

The MONNET project is developing semantically based services and applications that should make it possible to search the Web for information in any language one wants. This is of growing importance for both industry and governments. It will make it possible, for example, to search for and retrieve information in the specific user's language and present reports on the outcomes of searching and retrieving in the selected language. The industrial partners in this project are SAP AG, XBRL Europe, and Be Informed.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Philipp Cimiano

RobotDoC Collegium – ROBOTics for Development Of Cognition

The RobotDoC Collegium is a multinational network for the interdisciplinary training of doctoral students with cognitive robotics platforms. Within this programme, the RobotDoc fellows acquire not only specific knowledge on research in robotics but also a general preparation for careers in science and industry.

Project management: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Dr.-Ing. Britta Wrede, PD Dr. Katharina Rohlfing

HUMAVIPS - Humanoids with auditory and visual abilities in populated spaces

If humanoid robots are to work together with people, they must be able to interact with them in a natural way. This requires the coordinated interplay of perceptual, communicative, and motor processes as well as the possession of social skills. The goal of UMAVIPS is to equip humanoid robots with audiovisual abilities that enable them to explore their environment, recognize people, and interact with them appropriately.

Project management: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Sagerer, Dr.-Ing. Britta Wrede, Dr.-Ing. Sebastian Wrede

OpenAIRE - Open Access Infrastructure for Research in Europe

The OpenAIRE project is addressing how to make access to research findings as easy as possible. It is very important to develop new workflows as well as new infrastructures for the publication of research data and research findings that go beyond the conventional publication pathways (e.g., in a journal). OpenAire is engaged in multileveled initiatives (with 38 partners), including studies examining the special demands of researchers in different disciplines. CITEC is serving as a model for the field "Cognitive Systems and Robotics".

Project management: Dr. Wolfram Horstmann (Universitätsbibliothek), Prof. Dr. Philipp Cimiano