FAQ

Humanoid robots in general:

  • Q: When will humanoids be on the market ?
    A: For full body humanoids of human size that will take at least 15 years or longer. Small humanoids of (small) kid size are already available.
  • Q: What will they cost ?
    A: Will likely first be “lifestyle” products, cost e.g. as much as a car. A small humaniod e.g. from Aldebaran robotics costs about 8.000 EUR, yet smaller robots that are more toys can cost much less.
  • Q: Will robots substitute caretakers for the elderly?
    A: No, they will more be partners and helpers. Many researchers believe that robots can be useful in activating and entertaining people and helping to stay independent longer.
  • Q: When will we see other cognitive technology products on the market ?
    A: Cognitive technology already enters mass markets, e.g. in digital cameras, navigation devices, multi-media cellphone etc. It will enter production within the next few years.
  • Q: When will robots be truely intelligent ?
    A: We will experience surprises, because the technology rapidly develops. But what is "true" intelligence ?
  • Q: Why the humanoid appearence, what is it good for?
    A: Humans accept them more easily as partners and behave towards humanoids like towards children, because both have limited cognitive capabilities.
     

ASIMO:

  • Q: Are there ASIMOs in Bielefeld at CoR-Lab ?
    A: There were two ASIMO at CoR-Lab from 2007-2012 according to a five-year research agreement. They have been returned to Honda in October 2012.
  • Q: What did Bielefeld pay for the ASIMOs, what does an ASIMO cost?
    A: Invaluable, you can not buy it, you need to get it.
  • Q: Why did CoR-Lab get the ASIMOs ?
    A: Because of Bielefeld's excellence in interdisciplinary research and long term cooperation with the Honda Research Institute GmbH, Offenbach.
  • Q: What did CoR-Lab do with the ASIMOs?
    A: Make them more intellingent by teaching them to learn and by integration of capabilities like speech, vision, and movement. We start with transfering existing results like e.g. the speech gesture integration of MAX.
  • Q: How many ASIMO robots exist ?
    A: About 60, most of them are in Japan at Honda Research. See for more information at  ASIMO.honda.com
  • Q: How much does an ASIMO weigh ? How tall is ASIMO ?
    A: It has 52 kg weight and about 150 cm height. See for more information at  ASIMO.honda.com
  • Q: Which sensors does ASIMO have ?
    A: The ASIMO research platform can sense forces from the gound, the position of the body, and the joints. It has cameras for visual processing and microphones for audition.
  • Q: Can ASIMO appear at my birthday, abitur celebration, company jubilee, publicity event ?
    A: No. ASIMO is in Bielefeld exclusively for research and may not appear outside the lab. Show events with ASIMO cused to be staged only through a professional Honda team located in Brussel. As of 2015 also this is not possible any more.
  • Q: Is it possible to visit ASIMO in the lab ?
    A: No. The ASIMO have been returned to Honda. And there was no public access to the lab as long as they were present. We received the ASIMO robots for research only.
  • Q: Does CoR-Lab receive a successor of ASIMO ?
    A: Currently, there is nothing like a "successor" of ASIMO from Honda. However, CoR-Lab still works with iCub and Nao robots and received in the beginning of 2014 a COMAN (COMpliant huMANoid), the newest walking humanoid build by the Italian Institute of Technology. It is now used in the new European H2020 project CogIMon.

Other CoR-Lab Robots:

  • Q: What kind of robots does CoR-Lab have access to ?
    A: Besides ASIMO, projects of CoR-Lab work with anthopomorphic hands, torso robots, mobile platforms, and the humanoid robot iCub. CoR-Lab also is in command of two Kuka lightweight robots, one mounted on a Kuka OmniRob mobile platform.
  • Q: I have seen the Bionic Handling assistant at CoR-Lab, is that possible ?
    A: Yes, CoR-Lab has one of the few of this trunk-like robots (Rüssel) bought from FESTO. Currently, CoR-Lab is the only group capable of controlling the BHA, see the Bielefeld video channels.
  • Q: Does CoR-Lab own these robots ?
    A: Partially. Some mentioned platforms belong to the research groups of Prof. Ritter (anthropomorphic hands) and Prof. Sagerer (iCub, Flobi-head) at the Bielefeld Faculty of Technology. CoR-Lab projects cooperate to get access. The Kuka LWR, the BHA (Rüsselroboter) and the COMAN are owned by CoR-Lab.
  • Q: What is COMAN ?
    A: A new humanoid robot with springs in most joints, which makes it compliant to physical impact. You can hit and kick it, and it will not fall down.
  • Q: What is the humanoid iCub ?
    A: iCub is a child robot developed in European projects and funded by the EU. It is the European reference platform for developmental robotics and is able to crawl, grasp, move the whole body, but can not walk. COMAN is a successor of the iCub.

CoR-Lab organization

  • Q: How is CoR-Lab organized ?
    A: CoR-Lab is an central research institute of Bielefeld University and as such an independent organisation unit directly accountable to the university rectorate.
  • Q: Who heads CoR-Lab ?
    A: A board of four directors comprising Prof. H. Ritter, Prof. G. Sagerer, Prof. J.J. Steil and 8in an advisory role Prof. E. Körner (Honda Research Institute) constitutes the scientific leadership of CoR-Lab. Prof. J. Steil and Dr. C. Haumann (are responsible for the day-to-day management. 
  • Q: How do CoR-Lab and the Excellence Center in Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) relate ?
    A: CITEC is a DFG funded excellence cluster, while CoR-Lab is a public-private partnership with support of the state NRW. Both are "twins", which institutionalize the excellence of Bielefeld University in intelligent systems in different ways. CITEC and CoR-Lab share work and cooperate in intelligent robotic systems. All projects leaders in CoR-Lab also contribute to CITEC. But CITEC has a larger thematic scope reaching out to psychology, biology or linguistics and applications e.g. in media technology. CoR-Lab provides the bridge towards applied research in robotics and intenlligent technical systems.
  • Q: How many people work at CoR-Lab ?
    A: Currently more than 65 people (including students of the graduate school) directly work within CoR-Lab. CoR-Lab members exceed 100 and include project leaders and associate members.
  • Q: What is the CoR-Lab Graduate School ?
    A: From 2007-2012 the Honda Research Institute Europe (HRI-EU) funded more than 20 students and postdocs in the CoR-Lab's Graduate School in joint research projects. These projects have co-supervisers from HRI-EU. Currently, students from other scientific projects including EU-funden projects comprise the Gradschool.
  • Q: Who funds CoR-Lab ?
    A: CoR-Lab is almost completely third party funded. The Graduate School hjas initially been funded by HRI-EU, further funding came from the ministry of innovation of North-Rhine Westphalia (from 2007-2010). Further projects ITALK, AMARSi, Humanvips, RobotDoc and Echord were funded by the European Union in the FP7 framework. Industrial projects with Miele, Harting and in the framework of the it's OWL Spitzencluster complement this funding.
  • Q: Does CoR-Lab cooperate only with Honda ?
    A: No. CoR-Lab also cooperates with the regional industry in joint projects and national and international scientific partners.

CoR-Lab research:

  • Q: What is the focus of CoR-Lab’s research ?
    A: Communication and interaction with robots for learning and teaching them. Human-machine interaction, also for the factory floor. Make robots partners which we can interact with in natural ways.
  • Q: Who pursues research in CoR-Lab ?
    A: CoR-Lab has three independent research groups headed by Dr. B. Wrede (Hybrid Society), Prof. J. Steil (Cognitive Robotics & Learning), and Dr. S. Wrede (Cognitive Systems Engineering). Further there are the PhD-students and postdocs working in CoR-Lab from contributing research groups
  • Q: Which disciplines contribute to CoR-Lab ?
    A: Projects leaders and students in CoR-Lab currently come from computer science, robotics, engineering, linguistics, sports science, psychology, and biology.
  • Q: What are concrete research projects of CoR-Lab ?
    A: See projects of the research groups and the Graduate School. Projects include social learning, imitation, hand actions, autonomic computing, visual processing of faces, scene interpretation, or processing of brain signals.
  • Q: Does CoR-Lab persue applied research ?
    A: Yes, CoR-Lab offers joint projects with industry, in particular based on learning and teaching with novel robot arm platforms.
  • Q: What is ITALK ?
    A: ITALK is an EU funded international project based on the hypothesis that movement and language co-develop in early childhood. The projects models such processes with the humanoid robot iCub.