Ongoing Research Projects

The European Training Network on PErsonalized Robotics as SErvice Oriented applications – PERSEO – aims at training and creating a new generation of interdisciplinary researchers and professionals with an entrepreneurship ethos and transferrable skillset to face both societal and technological research challenges of this forthcoming market of personal robots. These consist respectively in the development of personalized and acceptable robot’s perceptual and interaction capabilities to be distributed as Cloud Services personal robot applications as companions, in rehabilitation, and for edutainment. The PERSEO research and training program is organized into three Research Themes aimed at investigating personalization of robot capabilities at different levels of possible Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), namely “Physical, “Cognitive”, and “Social”. This requires a set of research skills ranging from computer science and AI to automation, ethics, and psychology, and the use of a collaborative design approach. Integration Milestones, will provide co-working societal problems where collaborative design/implementation is fostered and supported by partner organizations. 

Past Research Projects

Stakeholders Acting Together On the ethical impact assessment of Research and Innovation

Mark Coeckelbergh was involved in the EU SATORI project from 2014 until December 1, 2015. The project, running from 2014 until 2017 and comprising 17 partners from 12 countries, aims to develop a common European framework for ethical assessment of research and innovation. Ultimately, the project seeks to establish a permanent platform around the framework to secure ongoing learning and attunement among stakeholders in ethical assessment.

SATORI combines two existing traditions in ethics: research ethics, which is the ethical reflection on scientific practice, and technology ethics, which is the ethical study of technology, engineering, and innovation. Special attention is being paid on the ethical assessment of societal, health, and environmental impacts of research and innovation, including impacts that concern freedoms, rights, and the just distribution of opportunities, risks, and resources.



INBOTS - EU Project enabling understanding and communication between stakeholders in robotics

As a part of the INBOTS Consortiom, Prof. Dr. Mark Coeckelbergh holds the role of principal investigator representing the University of Vienna; Michael Funk, BA MA joins him as a team member.

The project aims at creating a community hub for experts in order to debate and create a responsible research and innovation paradigm for robotics. Providing the necessary platform, INBOTS paves the way for a working synergy between the four pillars that concern stakeholders in Interactive Robotics: technical expertise; business expertise; ethical, legal and socioeconomic expertise; end-users, policy makers and general public. One of its main goals is the coordination and support of actions that can build bridges between these pillars.

Wearable Robots - Augmentation, Assistance or Substitution of Human Motor Functions

Wearable Robots (WRs) is an emerging field of personal devices that are integrated parts of human functioning, and that are constructed of typical robotic components such as actuators, sensors and control algorithms. Where conventional robots were typically intended for use in industrial environments to help in tedious and repetitive tasks and tasks requiring high precision, the situation is currently evolving to one where there is an increasing direct physical interaction between robot and human operator. The interaction with humans in WRs is not only physical, but also includes cognitive aspects, as in the interaction, control of functions is typically shared by human and machine. WRs can be used either to augment, train or supplement motor functions or to replace them completely. Wearable Robots operate alongside human limbs, as is the case in orthotic robots, exoskeletons or robotic suits. WRs are expected to find applications in Medical, Industrial and Consumer Domains, such as neuro-rehabilitation, worker support, or general augmentation. As WRs continuously interact with humans in multiple situations, Human Robot Interaction, Ergonomics, and Ethical, Legal and Societal (ELS) considerations, as well as early involvement of stakeholders are of essential interest. This Action focuses on the European integration of different underlying disciplines in science and engineering, as well as on engaging of stakeholders to improve WR technology and its societal impact.


Development of Robot-Enhanced therapy for children with AutisM sprectrum disorders

The EC-funded project DREAM ran from 2014 to 2018 and aimed at delivering the next generation robot-enhanced therapy (RET). It develops clinically relevant interactive capacities for social robots that can operate autonomously for limited periods under the supervision of a psychotherapist. DREAM provided policy guidelines to govern ethically compliant deployment of supervised autonomy RET. The core of the DREAM RET robot is its cognitive model which interprets sensory data (body movement and emotion appearance cues), uses these perceptions to assess the child’s behaviour by learning to map them to therapist-specific behavioural classes, and then learns to map these child behaviours to appropriate robot actions as specified by the therapists.

Mark Coeckelbergh worked on the "ethics" work package of the project.