EMBOA: Affective loop in Socially Assistive Robotics as an intervention tool for children with autism (ERASMUS+ project)
Runtime: 01.09.2019 – 31.08.2022
Role: Co-Author Proposal
Partners: Politechnika Gdanska, University of Hertfordshire, Istanbul Teknik Universitesi, Yeditepe University Vakif, Macedonian association for applied psychology, University of Augsburg
Description: The EMBOA project (Affective loop in Socially Assistive Robotics as an intervention tool for children with autism) aims at the development of guidelines and practical evaluation of applying emotion recognition technologies in robot-supported intervention in children with autism. Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) suffer from multiple deficits, and limited social and emotional skills are among those, that influence their ability to involve in interaction and communication. Limited communication occurs in human-human interaction and affects relations with family members, peers, and therapists. There are promising results in the use of robots in supporting the social and emotional development of children with autism. We do not know, why children with autism are eager to interact with human-like looking robots and not with humans. Regardless of the reason, social robots proved to be a way to get through the social obstacles of a child and make him/her involved in the interaction. Once the interaction happens, we have a unique opportunity to engage a child in gradually building and practicing social and emotional skills. In the project, we combine social robots, that are already used in therapy for children with autism with algorithms for automatic emotion recognition. The EMBOA project goal is to confirm the possibility of the application (feasibility study), and in particular, we aim at the identification of the best practices and obstacles in using the combination of the technologies. What we hope to obtain is a novel approach for creating an affective loop in child-robot interaction that would enhance interventions regarding emotional intelligence building in children with autism. The lessons learned, summarized in the form of guidelines, might be used in higher education in all involved countries in robotics, computer science, and special pedagogy fields of study. The results will be disseminated in the form of trainings, multiplier events, and to the general public by scientific papers and published reports. The project consortium is multidisciplinary and combines partners with competence in interventions in autism, robotics, and automatic emotion recognition from Poland, UK, Germany, North Macedonia, and Turkey. The methodological approach includes systematic literature reviews and meta-analysis, data analysis based on statistical and machine learning approaches, and as well observational studies. We have planned a double-loop of observational studies. The first round is to analyze the application of emotion recognition methods in robot-based interaction in autism, and especially to compare diverse channels for observation of emotion symptoms. The lessons learned would be formulated in the form of guidelines. The guidelines would be evaluated with the AGREE (Appraisal of Guidelines, Research, and Evaluation) instrument and confirmed with the second round of observational studies. The objectives of our project are matching the Social Inclusion horizontal priority with regards to supporting the actions for improvement of learning performance of disadvantaged learners (testing of a novel approach for improvement of learning performances of children with autism).
sustAGE: Smart environments for person-centered sustainable work and well-being (#826506) EU Horizon 2020 Research & Innovation Action (RIA)
Runtime: 36 months
Role: Workpackage Leader, Co-Author Proposal
Partners: Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Centro Ricerche Fiat SCPA, Software AG, Imaginary SRL, Forschungsgesellschaft für Arbeitsphysiologie und Arbeitsschutz e.V., Heraklion Port Authority S.A., Aegis IT Research UG, University of Augsburg, Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis, Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia
Description: sustAGE aims to develop a person-centered solution for promoting the concept of “sustainable work” for EU industries. The project provides a paradigm shift in human machine interaction, building upon seven strategic technology trends, IoT, Machine learning, micro-moments, temporal reasoning, recommender systems, data analytics and gamification to deliver a composite system integrated with the daily activities at work and outside, to support employers and ageing employees to jointly increase well-being, wellness at work and productivity. The manifold contribution focuses on the support of the employment and later retirement of older adults from work and the optimization of the workforce management. The sustAGE platform guides workers on work-related tasks, recommends personalized cognitive and physical training activities with emphasis on game and social aspects, delivers warnings regarding occupational risks and cares for their proper positioning in work tasks that will maximize team performance. By combining a broad range of the innovation chain activities namely, technology R&D, demonstration, prototyping, pilots, and extensive validation, the project aims to explore how health and safety at work, continuous training and proper workforce management can prolongue older workers’ competitiveness at work. The deployment of the proposed technologies in two critical industrial sectors and their extensive evaluation will lead to a ground-breaking contribution that will improve the performance and quality of life at work and beyond for many ageing adult workers.
TAPAS: Training network on Automatic Processing of PAthological Speech (#766287) EU H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks European Training Networks (MSCA-ITN-ETN:ENG)
Runtime: 01.11.2017 – 31.10.2021
Role: Co-Author Proposal
Partners: IDIAP, Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse III, Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Stichting Katholieke Universiteit, INESC ID, LMU Munich, Interuniersitair Micro-Electronicacentrum IMEC, Stichting het Nederlands Kanker Instituutantoni van Leeuwenhoek Ziekenhuis, Augsburg University, University of Sheffield, audEERING GmbH.
Description: There are an increasing number of people across Europe with debilitating speech pathologies (e.g., due to stroke, Parkinson’s, etc). These groups face communication problems that can lead to social exclusion. They are now being further marginalised by a new wave of speech technology that is increasingly woven into everyday life but which is not robust to atypical speech. TAPAS is proposing a programme of pathological speech research, that aims to transform the well-being of these people. The TAPAS work programme targets three key research problems: (a) Detection: We will develop speech processing techniques for early detection of conditions that impact on speech production. The outcomes will be cheap and non-invasive diagnostic tools that provide early warning of the onset of progressive conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. (b) Therapy: We will use newly-emerging speech processing techniques to produce automated speech therapy tools. These tools will make therapy more accessible and more individually targeted. Better therapy can increase the chances of recovering intelligible speech after traumatic events such a stroke or oral surgery. (c) Assisted Living: We will re-design current speech technology so that it works well for people with speech impairments and also helps in making informed clinical choices. People with speech impairments often have other co-occurring conditions making them reliant on carers. Speech-driven tools for assisted-living are a way to allow such people to live more independently. TAPAS adopts an inter-disciplinary and multi-sectorial approach. The consortium includes clinical practitioners, academic researchers and industrial partners, with expertise spanning speech engineering, linguistics and clinical science. All members have expertise in some element of pathological speech. This rich network will train a new generation of 15 researchers, equipping them with the skills and resources necessary for lasting success.