Congratulations (Dr.) Theodoros Stouraitis for his successful PhD Defence

Title: A Dyadic collaborative Manipulation formalism for Optimizing Human-Robot Teaming

Congratulations to Theodoros Stouraitis for successfully passing his PhD viva on 23rd February 2021.  His thesis is entitled "A Dyadic collaborative Manipulation formalism for Optimizing Human-Robot Teaming".


Short lay summary: 

Theodoros Stouraitis
Human & Robot Collaboration

Human-Robot-Interaction (HRI) is concerned with the relationship between humans and robots. One of the HRI sub-fields is physical Human-Robot-Collaboration (pHRC), which studies human-robot teaming in physical interaction scenarios. Research in this sub-field aims to develop an understanding and methodologies to enable robots assist humans in physical tasks. The main challenges can be framed as: (i) how should a robot act to assist a human partner? (ii) how can a robot coordinate its actions in space and time to collaborate with a human partner? (iii) how can a robot understand the needs and desires of a human partner?

This thesis proposes ways of improving the collaboration between a human and a robot in co-manipulation tasks. Two main avenues are explored, which correspond to the first and second question. In the first paradigm, it is proposed to enable robots to decide how and when to change the grasp-holds on the object during co-manipulation tasks. For the human-robot team, the ability of a robot to change and select grasp locations on the object, like the human does, empowers the team to complete tasks that where not possible before. In the second paradigm, a rough model that describes the behavior of the human partner is provided to a robot, along with the ability to adapt its behavior on-the-fly. This facilitates the co-manipulation of the object, grants a robot agent the ability to personalize and coordinate its motion plans to the human behavior and empowers a robot agent to adapt its motions to respond to changes that occur during the co-manipulation task. These two schemes make a step forward towards employing robots in real-world co-manipulation scenarios, where humans would enjoy an extra hand.


Theo's examiners were:

Dr. Steve Tonneau, The University of Edinburgh, (internal)

Prof. Marc Toussaint, Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), (external)