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last update: 13.11.2003


The central idea


The core idea of the MORPHA project is to equip intelligent mechatronic systems, particularly robot assistants or service robots, with the capability to communicate, interact and collaborate with human users in a natural and intuitive way. This capability should enable a robot assistant to cooperate with and assist the human user in a variety of tasks, under the user's guidance and control. The development of such natural and intuitive communication and interaction modes with the human user requires the design of methodologies that take into account both the shape and mobility of the human body, and the performance and versatility of the human senses. In other words, a robot assistant will be expected to act, behave and communicate in a "human-like" way.

These project goals require that communication between human being and robot assistant be a central research theme of the project.In addition to natural language communication, other crucial forms of communication will be investigated. Visual communication, for example through gestures, will facilitate the command and control of robot assistants, just as it will simplify their teaching and programming. Another important human sense is the sense of "touch", which refers here to the perception of and reaction to forces exerted by the robot.

The industrial partners participating in the MORPHA project have a vital interest in quickly translating results developed in this project into new products and product families. These cover new programming and operating interfaces, person recognition systems, intelligent room surveillance systems, all the way to intelligent control of different kinds of mechatronic systems. In the long term, MORPHA should pave the way for new types of assistance systems in the fields of industrial production, housekeeping, and home care. Concrete examples include robot assistants in the areas of materials handling and industrial assembly, intelligent robot vehicles for mobility assistance, cleaning robots, or robot assistants in the field of rehabilitation.

In the following, two application scenarios are described in more detail.

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