H2020 funding award to The Interaction Lab at Heriot-Watt University

Aldebaran's Pepper

In collaboration with the University of Glasgow, Prof Oliver Lemon, from The Interaction Lab at Heriot-Watt University, and part of the ECR Robotarium facilities, has been awarded Horizon 2020 funding for their proposal “MultiModal Mall Entertainment Robot” (MuMMER). This is a follow-on of their work on socially intelligent robot communication in the FP7 JAMES project. It brings 900K euros over 4 years to the Interaction Lab. The MuMMER project will be coordinated by the University of Glasgow. Some of their collaborators are IDIAP, Aldebaran Robotics, and CNRS.

The project will develop a humanoid robot (based on Aldebaran's Pepper platform) able to engage and interact autonomously and naturally in the dynamic environments of a public shopping mall, providing an engaging and entertaining experience to the general public. Using co-design methods, we will work together with stakeholders including customers, retailers, and business managers, to develop truly engaging robot behaviours, such as telling jokes or playing games, as well as providing guidance, information, and collecting customer feedback. Crucially, this robot will exhibit behaviour that is socially appropriate, combining speech-based interaction with non-verbal communication and human-aware navigation.

To support this behaviour, the project team will develop and integrate new methods from audiovisual scene processing, social-signal processing, high-level action selection, and human-aware robot navigation. Throughout the project, the robot will be deployed in a large public shopping mall in Finland.