Seeing Through a Robot’s Eyes

Experiment conducted at conference of the Thematic Network Interactive Intelligent Systems

Scientists attending this conference, held at the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC), took a step forwards for remote experimentation, transferring control software developed in Japan onto a robot in Bielefeld. Thanks to this software, the iCub robot gained a new capability: conference participants could see the world through the robot’s eyes by wearing Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses.

The robot was presented on Tuesday (22 March 2016) during the international workshop on robotics and cognitive interaction technology held at CITEC. Computer scientist Konstantinos Theofilis, Ph.D., who researches at Osaka University, developed the software. Theofilis originally created the demonstration for an iCub robot in Japan. CITEC researcher Dr. Lars Schillingmann, member of the Applied Informatics research group, assisted Theofilis in transferring the software to the Bielefeld robot. Schillingman himself also worked for a time at Osaka University.

In the future, Bielefeld University and Osaka University want to work together on remote experiments. “We have taken the first step with the iCub experiment. We have shown how small differences impact the software transfer between the iCubs, and how these can be resolved,” explains Lars Schillingmann.

Remote experiments are real experiments that are controlled from a location outside of the laboratory. Such experiments consist of two main parts: first, the actual experimental setup, and second, the technology that makes remote access possible. With remote experimentation, researchers in Osaka—or from other universities—can conduct experiments at CITEC laboratories, and vice versa

Approximately 40 researchers from Germany, Japan, Australia, and Israel took part in the workshop “From Robotics to Cognitive Interaction and Beyond,” which was held from 21–22 March 2016. The workshop was organized by the Thematic Network Interactive Intelligent Systems. In addition to talks given by Professor Minoru Asada, Ph.D., from Osaka University, and Professors Dr. Helge Ritter and Dr. Thomas Schack from CITEC, doctoral researchers also presented their dissertation projects. Tours around the campus and CITEC laboratories were given to the workshop participants.

In May 2016, another workshop of the Thematic Network will be held at the Israeli Institute for Technology in Haifa, Israel.