Mission 3 will lay the foundations for the next wave of healthcare and personal care robots. More precisely, the research topics covered by Activities 8 and 9 belong to scientific subjects ranging from materials science to chemistry, from mechatronics to computer sciences, control theory and artificial intelligence. The design of robots using unprecedented and sustainable structural materials, joints, sensors, actuators, and batteries will be considered in A8. The development of new interfaces and algorithms to improve the interpretation of users’ intentions and to implement safer and richer interactions between humans and robots will be considered in A9.

Therefore, activities A8-A9 address very wide and heterogeneous research fields whose intersections and contaminations can lead to disruptive research results in human rehabilitation and care. Given the closeness of these activities to blue sky research, it was deemed essential to direct the proposal of objectives (i.e., sub-projects) and the collaborations between the various bodies and researchers being guided, in an initial phase, by the research challenges.

Four Research Topics (RT) were identified to better address these important challenges as well as effectively encompass the research challenges (and envisaged) deliverables characterizing A8 and A9 were individuated as follows: RT1 Materials, focusing on new materials, soft robots and sustainable cells; RT2 Design, to investigate new actuators, sensors and batteries; RT3 AI and Human-Robot Interfaces, to advance the fields of user interpretations and personalized assistive behaviors; RT4 AI and Control, to define new HRI strategies also considering extended reality environments and digital twins for rehabilitation/assistance. Considering the affinities and complementarities within the partners, several bottom-up “subprojects" were established for each RT covering all the specific research areas.

Fabrizio Dabbene
/ Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Andrea Orlandini
/ Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
Fanny Ficuciello
/ Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Gionata Salvietti
/ Università di Siena