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The goal of IDH (Interactive Digital Humans) is to develop robots for helping people in healthcare and industrial scenarios.
Our expertise lies in the robot software (control, perception, artificial intelligence) rather than its hardware (mechanical and electronic design).
In a nutshell, we provide existing commercial robots with the cognitive capabilities needed to help humans. First, our robots must be capable of inferring the human intention, using multimodal sensing. This requires solid representations of the human model, and expertise in the use of cutting edge sensors to update this model and to control the robot accordingly.
These sensors include 3D vision, tactile/proximity skins and even human-machine interfaces (BCI and EMG), with an emphasis on signal processing and machine learning applied to physiological and human movement data.
A crucial objective is that the user controls the robot in a transparent way, to ultimately feel embodied in his/her augmented avatar.
To achieve this feeling of embodiment, our robots are anthropomorphic, i.e., humanoid.
A huge research challenge consists in controlling their whole body (feet, arms, head…) to realise multiple simultaneous tasks (just as we humans do). This often requires planning and controlling in real time the robot contact points with the environment as well as with the human user, in a manner that should be safe for robot, person and environment.
Recently, we have pushed these aspects forward, towards non-conventional manipulation, including intentional impacts, and intentional deformation of soft objects..

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