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C. Gena - Interfacce Utente Intelligenti: interazione uomo-robot e interfacce neurali (Brain Computer Interfaces)

Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI) aims at improving the symbiosis between humans and computers by merging two research fields: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). This may involve including intelligent capabilities in the interface in order to improve performance, usability and experience in critical ways. It may also involve designing an interface that effectively leverages human skills and capabilities, so that human performance with an application improves. We are currently putting a lot of research efforts in two fields belonging to IUI

- Human Robot Interaction (HRI) is a field of study dedicated to understanding, designing, and evaluating robotic systems for use by, or with, humans [Goodrich 2007]. Our research focus is on social and educational robots. Social robots are autonomous robots that interact with people by engaging in social-emotive behaviors, skills, capacities, and rules attached to their collaborative role. They are able to recognize each other and engage in social interactions, they possess histories (perceive and interpret the world in terms of their own experience), and they explicitly communicate with and learn from each other. We are working for projects aimed at using social robots in welcoming and assistive tasks in public offices and in museums, and also for assisting clinicians during therapies. Educational robotics is a methodology that allows children to learn thanks to robots. It teaches children and young people to build a robot from scratch and to program it. In our smart HCI lab (Turin University, Computer Science Department in collaboration with the ICxT innovation center) we are designing and realizing an educational robot called Wolly. Currently, the robot is made of a very common hobby robotic kit and is able to move on wheels, to recognize and express emotions, and perform basic dialogue strategies.

- Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI), are interfaces that put the user in communication with an electronic device through the brain activity produced by the user herself. Non-invasive BCI are mainly based on electroencephalographic (EEG) signals. In these systems, users are able to manipulate their brain activity to produce signals that will then be used to control computers or communication devices without the aid of motor movements. Our current research is focused on i) active BCIs applications for assistance to patients with reduced or absent mobility, as in the case of SLA patients in LIS or CLIS. We experimented BCIs to control robot movements, and, in conjunction to eye-tracking techniques, also for chatting with a robot; and ii) passive BCI applications that can be used to recognize mental states, like the user’s emotional state (in particular the level of engagement) during the interaction or according to a received stimulus.


Website and contact address: http://www.di.unito.it/~cgena/research.html

HRI TEAM Cristina Gena, Claudio Mattutino, Alessandro Mazzei, Ilaria Lombardi, Gianni Forlastro Ongoing and future collaborations with Federica Cena, Fabiana Vernero, Antonio Lieto, Rossana Damiano, Marco Botta, Rosa Meo
Dipartimento di Informatica
Universita' di Torino

BCI TEAM Cristina Gena, Claudio Mattutino
Universita' di Torino

Andrea Calvo, Silvestro Roatta
Dipartimento di Neuroscienze
Universita' di Torino