Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Probo the huggable robot platform.

What will Probo do?

Probo will play a role in research and education, with a special focus on children.

Role of Probo in research

The first prototype of the Probo robot was presented on 21st April 2009 by Probo Development Team. They developed the robot platform and the Robotic User Interface (RUI). A strong Mulitidisciplinary Team has been gathered around Probo to make the robot autonomous and intelligent. A second goal is to use the robot as research platform in three different research areas:

  • Technical research area: vision, speech, artificial intelligence and cognition.

    These research fields are extensively studied nowadays and they have a big impact on how the future robots will successfully collaborate with humans in a wide range of applications.

  • Medical applications: Exploring the possibilities in Robot Assisted Therapy.

    A specific focus of Probo are long termed hospitalised children. For these, the robot can be used for edutainment purposes and can serve as a videoconferencing platform (using the eyes as a camera and the screen in belly as a display) to communicate with family, classmates and friends. The robot user interface can be used by the medical staff to inform the children on medical routines, therapy or operations.

  • Social and psychological applications: Focus on human-robot interaction and emotional communication.

    Inter-human communication is based on the expressions of our entire body, arms and head. By establishing eye contact, observing and possibly imitating gestures, we increase our understanding of others utterances. By combining the knowledge from cognitive science and robots behaviors, we can achieve smooth and natural human-robot communication. It will provide us with a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of human communication. How a robot affects humans, in particular the psychological aspects, needs to be analysed to develop robots that collaborate with humans in the future.

Role of Probo in education

Probo serves as a platform for small projects, which are outsourced to high schools, secondary schools or universities. In those projects the students work on a specific element of the project, knowing that their work is part of a bigger concept proves extremely motivating. In this way the project motivates students and stimulates new technological innovation.


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