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.