INBOTS UpDate “Inclusive Robotics for a better society”
25 Institutions, 12 countries and 1 objective
In the 21st century we are witnessing the greatest technological transformation since the Neolithic. The multiplication of robots, the expansion of artificial intelligence and intelligent, autonomous and decision-making systems, poses profound social and economic changes and a range of problems that require a deep ethical analysis, as it is already being done in other fields such as biotechnology.
Since January 2018, a team of members from 25 different institutions from 12 European countries have been working to overcome the lack of a clear understanding and communication between all the stakeholders involved in the development and commissioning of Interactive Robotics.
The aim is that gathers all these professionals together is the creation of a community hub capable of stablishing the basis of a responsible research and innovation paradigm for robotics. Working on the creation of synergies between four pillars covering all the stakeholders working in Interactive Robotics. Nevertheless, INBOTS is open to third parties’ collaborations through Workshops, Conferences and other events that will ensure the inclusion of all the participants in the process of bringing Interactive Robotics to the market.
INBOTS gathers professionals from very diverse areas
INBOTS Conference outlines are ready
During the development of INBOTS project, a number of workshops and discussions are taking place to advance in the definition of a new paradigm that brings the new framework for developing Interactive robotics. To assemble all the progress made along the first year of existence of INBOTS project, and to accelerate the dissemination of research results and for the development of the next generation of robotics, we will celebrate the first annual INBOTS Conference held in the Italian city of Pisa, from October 16 to 20.
This Conference will be held in parallel with the International Conference on Neurorehabilitation (ICNR2018) and the International Symposium on Wearable Robotics (WeRob2018).
INBOTS WP leaders, a focus on the activities leadership:
WP1: IUVO, a spin-off to promote entrepreneurship
IUVO is a spin-off company of The BioRobotics Institute (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) and is the leader of INBOTS WP1 – “Promotion of entrepreneurship and non-technical support to SMEs”, which is mainly focused on investigating non-technical barriers in the diffusion of different robotic solutions in real life applications. IUVO is working with all the consortium partners to create a collection of experiences, methods and analyses for highlighting successful approaches in the field of interactive robotics which will hopefully pave the way for new entrepreneurs in this specific field.
A unique paradigm for Robotics: COST European cooperation in science & technology
One of the objectives of INBOTS is to collaborate and contribute with other EU funded projects contributing to the creation of a community hub that brigs European robotics sector to a leading position.
One of this project is COST Action CA 16116 “Wearable Robots for Augmentation, Assistance or Substitution of Human Motor Functions
What is COST Action?
COST is the longest-running European framework supporting trans-national cooperation among researchers, engineers and scholars across Europe. It is a unique means for them to jointly develop their own ideas and new initiatives across all fields in science and technology.
It anticipates and complements the activities of the EU Framework Programmes, constituting a “bridge” towards the scientific communities of COST Inclusiveness Target Countries. It also increases the mobility of researchers across Europe and fosters the establishment of scientific excellence. COST funds different types of Networking activities but does not directly fund research.
INBOTS at ERF 2018
Past March 13th to 15th 2018, took place in Tampere the 2018 edition of the European Robotics Forum where members of INBOTS attended with the aim of networking with other projects and promoting the project among the industry.
In addition, some internal meetings took place with the collaboration of external parties, who contribute to the working group on ethics, legal and socioeconomic aspects.
In this time, INBOTS has receive invitations to participate in several conferences such as the Board of the Lawbotics Association.
Some members of the team (Profs. Grau, Lambea and Sánchez-Urán) are involved in the currently launched Initiative for Future of Work, set by the International Labour Organization-Spain, in three Working Groups (Robotics, Financing and Social Responsibility).
How is progressing INBOTS on each Work Package?
WP1: Promote entrepreneurship and non-technical support to SMEs
In the first six months of the H2020 INBOTS project, some preparatory activities related to WP1 have been performed. Hereafter, a brief list of the actions completed (or still ongoing) is recapped:
- The members of this WP have already recap the success/failure stories of entrepreneurs, the geographical distribution of the companies, the size of the market in a qualitative way, etc. in the Wearable Robotics and Humanoids fields; and they will keep working focus on the other fields of the interactive robotics belonging to the Consortium.
- A desk research of data regarding the Wearable Robotics and the Humanoids fields in terms of companies, products, annual turnover, etc. has been carrying out, and will remain ongoing, to deliver a list of companies with different relevant information.
- A database research for interactive robotics companies in the CrunchBase database has been performed, and it allows us to expand the number of companies analysed.
- A preliminary agenda for the WP1 workshop at the INBOTS Conference is ready, and it will include success cases including the different business models used in the field of interactive robotics by this companies and the new innovation models, opportunities and tools available for start-up companies.
WP2: Promote debate on legal, ethics & socio-economic aspects
The members in this WP are attending diverse workshops to discuss about the legal implications of robotics in the labour market, how should robotics be considered in the tax regulations and they have contribute to reach a wider conscience about the benefits of the introduction of interactive robotics in daily life.
In addition, as a result of all the work done, the Professors Yolanda Sánchez-Urán and María Amparo Grau presented the paper “THE IMPACT OF ROBOTICS, ESPECIALLY INCLUSIVE ROBOTICS, ON THE WORKPLACE: LABOUR LAW AND FISCAL ASPECTS”, where they reflect about the risks and opportunities created by the latest developments in advanced robotics and, based on ethics, they analyse some legal aspects another important achievement happened with the appointment of Maarten Goos as Chair at the new high-level international expert group on the impact of the digital transformation on EU labour markets set up at the Commission’s Directorate-Generals for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG Connect) and for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG Employment). This group is called to analyse and advise the Commission on the impact of the digital transformation on EU labour markets and explore policy options.
WP3: Promote highly-accessible and multidisciplinary education programs
The members of WP3 started analysing training needs at different learning levels, in particular, they prepared some on-line forms to collect available robotics learning tools across Europe in pre-academic education and universities and they shared them among WP partners to start data collection, and they are going to extend them to the whole consortium.
WP4: Coordinate standardization and benchmarking
The entities working under this WP have elaborate a survey to identify whether associations and companies that are active in the field of IR employ standards and if they see further standardisation potentials. They also identified the following fields requiring standardization processes: benchmarking, ethics, interoperability, safety and test methods.
WP5: Propose a regulatory & risk management framework
Members of this WP have attended to several conferences and workshops in conexion with the European Commission to work in the regulation of Robotics, most of the speeches defended in this sense by Andrea Bertolini, WP leader, defend that “robots are in no way personalities or beings, they are products and the product liability regulation applies”.
WP6: Promote societal and socio-economic uptake of robotics
WP6 members have started to identify best practices and they have yet contacted interactive robotic companies and researcher to get their permission to use video clips in the workshops with the general public planed during the autumn. WP6 partners have been asked to submit at least three best practices examples from each partner and each country on the following (but not exclusively) topics:
healthcare, manufacturing, education, transportation, sex industry. Best practices will be collected, analysed and selected based on the evaluation tool. The selected criteria are technology readiness level, demand, affordability, usefulness/usability, relative advantage, feasibility, attractiveness and novelty. KTH has developed an evaluation tool to assess different interactive robotic practices, which will also be used in the workshops with the general public in the autumn 2018. An outlined of the preliminary white paper has been proposed, as well as, an outline for a WP6 workshop at the INBOTS conference in Pisa in October.