Cognition refers to intelligent behaviour, the essential characteristic of living beings. In humans, this behaviour is based on key cognitive capacities such as perception, action, emotion, language, learning, memory, reasoning and consciousness.

Cognitive robotics is about developing intelligence in robots. The Cognitive Robotics research group at TU Delft focuses primarily on how robots can best plan and carry out their subsequent actions, so three cognitive aspects come into play: perception, thinking and acting.

The new Department of Cognitive Robotics brings together Delft robotics research, which used to be divided into two separate departments: Systems and Control and Biomechanical Engineering.

Our research focuses on:

The fundamental work of the Department of Cognitive Robotics is used in various Delft field labs, where practical robot applications are being developed and tested on a small scale (RoboHouse, SAM|XL and AIRLab Delft). From these field labs, the work eventually finds its way into practical applications in numerous industries, agriculture and horticulture, and retail.

Cooperation / partners

News

Research programmes Soft Robotics and Botanic Sensor networks at 4TU event

Photo: 4TU.Federatie/Bram Saeys The five new research programmes that have been awarded 22 million euros by the 4TU.federation presented themselves this week during the 4TU kick-off event. The overarching theme is ‘high tech for a sustainable future’. The universities of Delft, Eindhoven, Twente and Wageningen will be collaborating in these programmes. By consolidating their knowledge, they are committed to driving innovation in research. With the appointment of 44 tenure trackers, 4TU is investing in research for the long term. It concerns permanent positions at the universities. The idea is for the researchers to set up their own research projects that fall within the themes, secure funding and hire trainee research assistants. TU Delft is coordinating two of the programmes: ‘Soft Robotics’ and ‘Plantenna’. The ‘Plantenna’ programme is being coordinated by Peter Steeneken, professor of Dynamics of Micro and Nanosytems at the Department of Precision and Microsystems Engineering. The ‘Soft Robotics’ programme is being coordinated by Herman van der Kooij, part-time professor at the Department of BioMechanical Engineering in collaboration with David Abbink and Michael Wiertlewski from the Delft Haptics Lab and Paul Breedveld and Aimee Sakes from the BITE Group. Plantenna - Botanic sensor networks, towards an internet of plants Researchers are focused on the development of sensor technology which gathers information from within plants concerning the state of the crop and the surrounding environment. By connecting sensored plants in networks , an ‘internet of plants’, scientists can use the data gathered for climate and weather monitoring, and for higher crop yields by employing more efficient fertilisation and irrigation. Soft Robotics Robots that operate in society require a ‘soft touch’. Industrial robots are exceptionally precise and fast, but also rigid. They are less suitable when it comes to physical and safe contact with people or collecting certain foodstuffs, for example. This research is inspired by nature, such as the tree frog’s soft grip or the squid’s flexible arms. The form, flexible movements and softness are the guiding principles for soft robotics. An elephant is capable of picking up an apple with its trunk without crushing it. This programme unites organic knowledge, new regulation technology and innovative robotics design. Read more here Article in Delta about four Dutch universities of technology working together in research programmes: ‘TU’s werken samen in nieuwe onderzoeksprogramma’s’

Michaël Wiertlewski awarded best paper IEEE Transactions on Haptics 2019

The best IEEE transactions on Haptics Best Paper Award 2019 goes to .... Michaël Wiertlewski (CoR) and his team! About the paper “Perception of Ultrasonic Switches Involves Large Discontinuity of the Mechanical Impedance” Touchscreens have opened the door to a more intuitive interaction with computers. Yet, this new technology has dramatic effects on how we perceive the action of the machine. Where physical buttons gave a vivid tactile feedback on their state and action, touchscreens are a flat and inert pane of glass, which forces users to solely rely on visual cues to navigate around the interface. The required visual attention leads to distraction and hinder the formation of muscle memory. Surface-haptics endow touchscreens with the ability of touching back the user via the online modification of the slipperiness of a glass touchscreen. The aforementioned study shows that this phenomenon of friction modulation can be harnessed to create virtual buttons that feel similar to their real counterparts. These buttons can provide a much needed validation that the action commanded by the user has been correctly executed, without the need for any visual feedback. The results have applications in human-computer interaction, especially in automotive industry visual distraction can be dangerous. More information can be found at ieee-ras.org . We are very proud that Michael has received this prize for excellent science, from the most important journal in his field.