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ROSSI - Emergence of communication in robots through sensorimotor and social interaction

  • 17174
  • CORDIS - PROJECTS 21/01/2008

Starting from the assumption that cognition is embodied; the ROSSI project addresses the question how the possibility of communication between agents (e.g. humans and robots) is affected by differences in sensorimotor capacities.

This is an important issue, given that robots are expected to become more common in non-structured environments, such as homes or hospitals. While there is a trend towards humanoid robots, it is clear that for the foreseeable future there will still be substantial differences in physical embodiment between robots and humans.

To explore to what extent concepts must be shared to facilitate communication, we will build robots with sensorimotor systems structurally roughly similar to human beings. Furthermore, the control mechanisms for these robots will be based on insights into the neural mechanisms underlying human concepts and language.

In particular, two types of neurons in premotor cortex will be modelled:

  1. canonical neurons, which are active during both the execution of specific object-directed actions and the mere visual observation of the same objects, and
  2. mirror neurons, which are involved in both an agent's own actions and the visual observation of such actions performed by others.

In this framework, the project's aims are twofold. First, behavioural and neurophysiological experiments will provide new evidence and insights into the grounding of human conceptualisation and language. Second, computational modelling of the underlying neural mechanisms will provide novel approaches to grounding of robotic conceptualisation and language.

More specifically, the project aims at building robots endowed with the sensorimotor and neural/computational mechanisms that allow them to:

  • (a) flexibly manipulate and use objects in the environment,
  • (b) use a simple form of language, i.e. nouns and verbs referring to objects and object-oriented actions,
  • (c) use such concepts and verbal labels in social interaction with humans.

Start date: 2008-03-01
End date: 2011-02-28

Duration: 36 months

Project Reference: 216125

Project cost: 3697156 EURO
Project Funding: 2800000 EURO

Subprogramme Area: Cognitive Systems, Interaction, Robotics
Contract type: Collaborative project (generic)


Università di Bologna Dip. di Psicologia - prof. Anna Borghi

Altri Partecipanti:

  • Università degli Studi di Parma PRM Italy (referenti: prof. Buccino, Gallese, Riggio)
  • Universität zu Lübeck ITM Germany (referente: prof. Binkovsky)
  • Högskolan i Skövde HIS Sweden (referente: prof. Ziemke)
  • Middle East Technical University METU Turkey (referente: prof. Sahin)
  • Aberystwyth University AU United Kingdom (referente: prof. Lee)
  • ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - UNIVERSITÀ DI BOLOGNA Contact person BANDINI, VERDIANA VIA ZAMBONI 33 40126 BOLOGNA ITALIA Tel: +39-051-2099764 Fax: +39-051-2098115
Quadro di finanziamento
  • 7FP-ICT : TECNOLOGIE DELL’INFORMAZIONE E DELLA COMUNICAZIONE: priorità tematica 3 nell'ambito del programma specifico “Cooperazione” recante attuazione del Settimo programma quadro (2007-2013) di attività comunitarie di ricerca, sviluppo tecnologico e dimostrazione
Area di interesse
  • Unione Europea