The Collaborative Research Center 588 "Humanoid Robots - Learning and Cooperating Multimodal Robots" was established on the 1st of July 2001 by the Deutsche Forschungs-gemeinschaft (DFG) and will run until June 30th, 2012.
The goal of this project is to generate concepts, methods and concrete mechatronical components for a humanoid robot, which will be able to share his activity space with a human partner. With the aid of this partially anthromorphic robot system, it will be possible to step out of the "robot cage" to realise a direct contact to humans.
The term multimodality includes the communication modalities intuitive for the user such as speech, gesture and haptics (physical contact between the human and the robot), which will be used to command or instruct the robot system directly.
Concerning the cooperation between the user and the robot - for example in the joint manipulation of objects - it is important for the robot to recognise the human's intention, to remember the acts that have already been carried out together and to apply this knowledge correctly in the individual case. Great effort is spent on safety, as this is a very important aspect of the man-machine-cooperation.
An outstanding property of the system is its ability to learn. The reason for this is the possibility to lead the system to new, formerly unknown problems, for example to new terms and new objects. Even new motions will be learned with the aid of the human and they can be corrected in an interactive way by the user.
The Collaborative Research Center 588 is assigned to the Department of Informatics. More than 40 scientists and 13 institutes are involved in this project. They belong to the department of Informatics, the Faculty of Electrical and Information Engineering, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB) and the Forschungszentrum Informatik Karlsruhe (FZI).