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Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
th
Call for Proposals, 2006 Page 1


EUROPEAN COMMISSION



Asia-Link Programme
Phase III
Grant Application Form
Open Call for Proposals
2006


Budget line: 19.1002

Reference: EuropeAid/123738/C/ACT/Multi

Deadline for receipt of applications: 19 October 2006



Name of applicant:
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur,
INDIA



Dossier No
(for official use only)


Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
th
Call for Proposals, 2006 Page
2



NOTICE





All personal data (such as names, addresses, CVs, etc.) mentioned in your application form will be
processed in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council
of 18 December 2000 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the
Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data. Your replies to the questions in
this form are necessary in order to assess your grant application and they will be processed solely for that
purpose by the department responsible for the Community grant programme concerned. On request, you
may be sent personal data and correct or complete them. For any question relating to these data, please
contact the Commission department to which the form must be returned. Beneficiaries may lodge a
complaint against the processing of their personal data with the European Data Protection Supervisor at
any time (Official Journal L 8, 12.1.2001).




Please read and complete this form with all due care, in accordance with the guidelines for applicants.

Please note that the procedure has changed. The evaluation of your application will only be performed if
your concept note is provisionally selected. Your application will then undergo the evaluation. The
eligibility conformity check will only be performed for the proposals that have been provisionally selected
according to the score obtained after the evaluation, on the basis of the supporting documents requested by
the European Commission and the Declaration by the applicant signed and sent together with the
application.

Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
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Call for Proposals, 2006 Page
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CONCEPT NOTE
1. Summary of the action

1.1 Brief description of the proposed action.

In the last decade robotics has stepped out from industrial applications into human society as helpers,
rehabilitation devices, welfare supervisors, and entertainment aids. Out of all these applications, human assistive
robots are likely to play a major role in improving the lives of persons with disability due to old age, disease or
injury. While ageing society of European countries need customized assistive robots, both European and Asian
countries need assistive robots for severely disabled people whose proportion is uniform across the globe.
Although European countries have already made visible progress in the field of assistive robotics, the field is still
relatively new. It is needless to say that Asian countries like India are lagging behind in this very important field of
research. However a collaborative project between Indian Universities and European Universities in the field of
assistive robotics will not only produce a large scale specialized man-power that will support both the societies, but
also EU can take advantage of such a collaborative effort to win over other competing nations such as US and
Japan. Furthermore, assistive robotics is highly multi-disciplinary and involves many different research fields. This
is ideal for linking universities from EU and Asia together since the broad coverage of different disciplines enables
us to collaborate better at the university level and generate higher impact. With this back-drop, the main objective
of our proposal entitled ‘
A Collaborative Academic Program for Innovation in Intelligent Assistive
Robotics’
is to develop specialized man-power through rigorous basic and experimental research in major
aspects of assistive robotics that includes rehabilitation robots, wheelchair robots and other mobility aides, and
manipulator arms for the physically disabled. Simultaneously the proposal initiates a novel method of interactions
between European and Asian Universities through synchronous e-learning, tele-robotics and exchange visits so
that strength of each partner can be shared. In this regard, the project has a bold vision such as a student from an
ill-equipped lab can perform remote experiments on a costly physical set-up in another laboratory. Following
objectives are outlined in this project:
• To develop highly skilled human resources – graduates with PhD and Masters’ degrees - in assistive
robotics through collaborative basic and experimental research.
• To develop a long vision in assistive robotic research through two international workshops so that a far-
reaching impact can be made in this direction. In this regard the help of experts from EUROP, EURON and
such bodies will be sought.
• To bring in a synchronism in assistive robotics education between EU and Asia through synchronous e-
learning and tele-robotics. This would enable to augment graduate level teaching courses through live e-
classes by respective experts in partner-institutes. So also students can perform remote experimentation
via internet using the concept of tele-robotics.
• To conduct road-shows on assistive robotic systems in EU and India to increase awareness among
potential users.
• To facilitate participants of this proposal to learn foreign culture in industrial and academic sectors that
would lead to mutual cooperation between Europe and Asia.
• To assist Institute of Engineering(IOE), Tribhuvan University, Nepal in the field of industrial automation
and robotics so that they can start doing indigenous research in the field of robotics. It is planned that IOE
will be helped to set up a robotics lab as well as to develop course curriculum in robotics. IOE will then act
as a seed in Nepal to further disseminate the outcomes from this project to other universities in Nepal in
the future.
As part of the human resource development program, lead researchers in partner institute will jointly supervise
Ph.D. and Masters’ students in following areas that has a common theme of development of a low cost visually
navigated smart wheel-chair equipped with intelligent robotic arms including brain-operated assistive devices:
• a brain-computer interface (BCI) that allows a disabled person to control a smart wheelchair and robotic
manipulator combination;
• a visual tracking system for operating the wheelchair as an automated guided vehicle (AGV) to give
mobility;
• an integrated navigation system with both embedded and off-board sensors for safe navigation of the
wheel chair;
• a self-organising control architecture for a redundant manipulator for natural execution of actions desired
by the disabled user;
• a self-adaptive learning system that evolves multiple neural networks incrementally from simple to complex
tasks for robotic control;
• an evolvable hardware system for controlling assistive robots and wheelchairs adaptively;
• development of an exo-skeletal robot for human hand support – mechanical design, sensor fusion, and
control.
Fifteen faculty members from six institutes/Universities situated in four counties (India, Germany, UK and Nepal)
will supervise 22 Ph.D. and M.Sc. students jointly for successful completion of the project.


Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
th
Call for Proposals, 2006 Page
4
2. Relevance:

2.1 How relevant is your proposal to the needs and constraints of the target country(ies) or region?
As per a conservative estimate, 1 in 3500 of the world population may suffer from a neuro-muscular disorder such
as motor neuron disease (MND). Such people may have no means to communicate with the external world at all.
They may be provided mobility and enhanced autonomy through an appropriately designed practical brain-
operated assistive robotic system. European countries such as UK and Germany are facing problems such as
ageing of society, lack of carers and high labour cost of caregivers which can be adequately solved using
customized assistive robotic systems. There are about 70 million people with disabilities in the EU. However only
two rehabilitation robots have reached noticeable sales numbers on the market: the Handy1, and the MANUS.
Based on the 2001 census, 27.87% of the disabled people which amounts to 61 million suffer from movement
disability in India alone. Additionally India needs low cost assistive robots for the blind, deaf and dumb people.
Above all, assistive and rehabilitation robots are urgently needed in health-care institutions of both EU and India to
take care of needy patients.
Since the field of assistive-robotics is relatively new, both basic and experimental researches are
necessary to develop low-cost prototypes such that disabled people can afford them. This would require
specialized man-power in the field of assistive robotics. India and Nepal are good sources of high quality man-
power and European Universities have best research facilities. Thus EU-India-Nepal network at the university
level can easily tap young man-power of India and Nepal to educate them in this field through a collaborative
research and teaching which allows exchange visits, advanced research under joint supervision and provision for
high quality experimental facilities.
Moreover robotic research is yet to take a shape in Nepalese context for which the principal cause lies in
the lack of academic curriculum regarding robotics and automation. These courses are vital for overall research
interest as well as industrial development. Furthermore there is practically no infrastructure for development of
robotics and automation in the country apart from a small student group, Robotics Club at the Institute of
Engineering (IOE), Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Thus the proposal aims to provide logistic support to IOE so that
young Nepalese students will be greatly benefited and will be a great source of specialized man-power. We are
very much convinced that EU, India and Nepal collaboration in assistive robotics will play a vital role to serve the
humanity and is a step forward for EU to compete with Japan and US in this cutting-edge technology.
2.2 What are the problems to be resolved and the needs to be met?
There is an urgent need for developing affordable assistive robotic systems for providing independence to ageing
and disabled people. The primary focus of this proposal is to develop high quality engineering graduate
researchers to perform basic research as well as experimental research necessary for generating expertise to
build assistive robotic systems. Research objective is not only to develop robust and intelligent algorithms but also
to find answers to building lost-cost prototypes. Simultaneously the need of IOE in terms of minimal infrastructure
and specialized curriculum will be taken care of. Through joint supervision, we will train young graduates from
Asia, set up potential common curricula and strengthen the links among all partner universities.
2.3 Who are the actors involved (final beneficiaries, target groups)?
Target groups are the partners associated with this project where the knowledge frontier in the field of assistive
robotics will be pushed much forward. The project will ultimately benefit a large number of graduates from EU and
Asia as a result of our project, which would have laid down the foundation and mechanisms for sustained EU-Asia
collaboration. Both European and Asian disabled community will be final beneficiaries for which such long term
collaboration will yield low-cost health-care assistances.
2.4 What are the objectives and expected results?
The natural outcome of this endeavour would be specialized manpower. Fifteen lead researchers from six
institutes across four countries will guide 22 Ph.D. and Masters’ students. The research will be carried out in a
collaborative fashion creating a strong scientific network between European and Asian Universities. Research
results will be disseminated through scientific publications in major journals and conference proceedings. Efficacy
of a low cost brain-operated visually navigated smart wheel-chair equipped with intelligent robotic arms will be
demonstrated through road-shows in EU and Asia. Remote experimentation facility through tele-robotic system
and distance education through synchronous e-learning will bring in synchronization in education between EU and
ASIA. The overall objective will be the strengthening of EU-Asia links, especially among graduates and
universities. There will be better understandings among EU and Asia partners.
2.5 What is the added value of the action (what adds the action by reference to (central or local) government
action and actions implemented by non state actors)?
All partners have already attracted substantial national funding to carry out research in some aspects of assistive
robotics. Further, if Asia link programme supports this proposal, then it is possible for us to get additional funding
from the respective research support institutes of the individual nations such as DAAD, Germany, Department of
Science and Technology (DST), India, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), UK. Such
additional funding can be used to recruit additional PhD students as well as for equipment support to develop low
cost proto-types. The local governments, e.g., Birmingham City Council in UK, are all very keen on establishing
close ties with Asian countries in higher education. Recently a UK India Education and Research Initiative
(UKIERI) has been launched by UK and India governments to support collaborative projects between UK and
India. The proposed project thus fits the strategy of central and local governments very well and is likely to obtain
additional support from local governments for certain activities, e.g., dissemination of project outcomes.

Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
th
Call for Proposals, 2006 Page
5
3. Methodology and Sustainability:

3.1 What are the main project activities?
Following are the main activities:
• Human resource development - Fifteen faculty members from six institutes/Universities situated in four
counties (India, Germany, UK and Nepal) will jointly supervise 22 Ph.D. and M.Sc. students in the broad
area of intelligent assistive robotics. These students will perform basic and experimental research to
develop necessary expertise to build low cost assistive robotic devices for disabled people.
• Synchronism in assistive robotics education between EU and ASIA will be brought out through
synchronous e-learning and tele-robotics.
• Logistic support to IOE Nepal will be provided for robotics education.
• Two international workshops – one in India and other in Europe – will be organized. The project will kick off
with a work-shop in India in the first month. Ten experts will be invited to help the collaborative teams to
properly project realistic goal. Also a course module on Soft-computing applications in Assistive Robotics
will be formulated which will be floated as a graduate level 4-unit course. Another work-shop will be held
after 2.5 years in Europe for critical evaluation of the project outcome with the help of same set of experts.
Besides a popular graduate level course module on Assistive Robotics will be formulated at the end of this
second workshop.
• Visibility of the outcome of this EU-Asia collaborative effort will be achieved through road shows as well as
through dissemination of results in conference proceedings and journal publications.
• FWBI will act as transfer unit for exchange of ideas from this consortium to SMEs. So also Invacare UK
Limited will closely monitor the research outcome for translating to feasible technology.

3.2 Who will be your main implementing partners, what is the length of your relationship with them and how will
they be involved in the project?
We are six partners: Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK), India; International Institute of Information
Technology, Hyderabad(IIITH), India; Institute of Automation, University of Bremen, Germany (IAT); University of
Ulster, Magee Campus(UUM), UK; the University of Birmingham(UB), UK and the Institute of Engineering (IOE),
Tribhuvan University, Nepal. This partnership was kick-started when Dr. L. Behera (LB) from IITK visited UUM in
the summer 2006 for collaboration on brain-computer interface (BCI) based communication system using Quantum
Neural Networks. The team further expanded when LB contacted Prof. Graeser from IAT, the group known for their
research in Assistive Robotics and Dr. G. Prasad (GP) from UUM contacted Prof. Xin Yao from UB. IAT group has
already a research link with IIITH. Incidentally, IOE has a long term connection with IITK where key technological
information exchange takes place through specialized schools and quality improvement programme. IITK has been
interacting with IAT for last two years in regard to assistive robotic research. The IIITH group have a very strong
research relationship with IITK group as well. UB has been collaborating with the Mechanical Engineering
Department of IITK since 2001, when an Asia-ITC grant was awarded to them. In a nut-shell, all six partners have
a coherent view about the proposed plan and are determined to work as a team to achieve the end-result. Lead
researchers of all six partner-institutes will share and supervise various modules of research objectively and jointly
through exchange visits. The collaborative effort will be strengthened by involving senior Ph.D. students through
exchange visits where they interact with their fellow Ph.D. scholars for joint research and experimentation. A total
of 5 new Ph.D. students, 14 senior Ph.D. students and 3 M.Sc. students will carry out their thesis work through this
proposal. Their thesis works will be jointly supervised by lead researchers from six institutes. Although IITK will
take the responsibility for overall coordination, all six partners will jointly work as a team to make the project
successful.
3.3 How will the project achieve sustainability?
The duration of the present proposal is three years. The strong networking structure among European and Asian
Universities would enable each institute to be self-sufficient in assistive robotics in general. If necessary, we will
continue our collaboration through joint international project schemes such as DST, DAAD, Asia-link and UKIERI.
Because the project’s overall goal is to strengthen the links between universities from EU and Asia and all the
partner universities have strong interests in long-term cooperation, we expect the partner universities will invest in
our future activities, after we have built up a sound infrastructure and mechanism for cooperation with the support
of this project. FWBI, Bremen, a technology transfer organization, will assist the partner-institutes to develop
industry linkage so that this collaboration can be sustained in long term. In addition, Invacare UK Limited, a leading
manufacturer of smart wheel chairs and assistive robotic products will closely work with the partner-institutes to
take the research output from this joint venture to technology development.
3.4 Will it have multiplier effects?
Yes, specialized man-power developed from this project will spread across the societies in both Europe and Asia
through specialized jobs, entrepreneurship and academic and industrial research. Continuous interaction with
FWBI Bremen and Invacare UK limited will result in a long-term collaboration in a framework of academia-industry
linkage which will have a greater dissemination effect of the outcome of this project.




Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
th
Call for Proposals, 2006 Page
6

4. Expertise and operational capacity:

4.1 What is the experience of your organisation in project management?
IITK has been consistently rated as number one tech-school both in teaching and research in India over the years.
Every year the institute gets funding of more than Rupees 500 million for execution and implementation of various
projects and consultancies.
4.2. What is the experience of your organisation and your partner(s) of the issues to be addressed?
IIT, Kanpur, India
IITK research group consists of four lead researchers, namely, Dr. Laxmidhar Behera (LB), Prof. P.K. Kalra (PKK),
Dr. Ashish Dutta (AD) and Dr. Y.N. Singh(YNS); five senior Ph.D. students, and two new Ph.D. students to be
recruited in this project. The group has extensive research experience in intelligent control, visual motor
coordination, advanced neural learning algorithms, advanced control architecture, visual tracking, obstacle
avoidance, humanoid robots and data modelling using soft-computing approaches. The group is also well
equipped with advanced experimental set-ups such as a IRB140 6DOF manipulator with stereo vision system,
SGI Prism server for visualization, a 7 DOF power-cube robot (redundant manipulator), Patrolbot for
experimentation as automated guided vehicle (AGV) and many prototypes of humanoid robots such as static and
dynamic walkers. Simultaneously the group is investigating sponsored research with a funding of Rupees 25
million.
IIIT, Hyderabad, India
IIIT, Hyderabad research group consists of Dr. Madhav Krishna, Dr. Bipin Indurkhya, Dr. C. V. Jawahar, two senior
PhD students, one M.Sc. student, and one new Ph.D. students to be recruited in this project. The research focus
involves multi robotic systems, mobile robotics and hybrid legged-wheeled vehicles. Research projects include
probabilistic localization and mapping, SLAM, planning under constraints, multi sensor surveillance systems for
multi target detection, cooperative localization and navigation and force feedback control for hybrid legged
wheeled vehicles and visual information processing. A micro robot is being developed with informal collaboration
with CAIR as a part of platform development to get insight into hardware and embedded system related issues as
well as to jump start swarm robotics research. Previously a four wheeled steered robot was developed in
collaboration with CMU.
Institute of Automation (IAT), University of Bremen, Germany
IAT is one of the premier research institutes in Bremen and Germany in the field of automation and robotics. IAT
research group consists of Prof. Axel Gräser, two senior Ph.D. students and one new Ph.D student to be
recruited in this project. The institute is a pioneer in the field of assistive robotic research while it has strong
expertise in areas such as Computer Vision, Augmented Reality, Signal Processing, Robust Image processing
methods and Human Brain Interface. There are eighteen international PhD students and several master and
diploma students as research assistants who are dedicated to research full-time.
University of Ulster, Magee, UK
The UUM research team consisting of three academic staff Dr. G. Prasad (GP), Prof. T. M. McGinnity (TMM), and
Dr. Liam P. Maguire (LPM) and three existing senior PhD students Pawel Herman (PH), Alan Browne (AB), and
Philip Vance (PV) is part of Intelligent Systems Engineering Laboratory (ISEL) research group based at the Magee
Campus of the University of Ulster (UU) which is one of the largest universities in the UK. The university has also
committed to recruit a new PhD student for inclusion in the team. The research areas are Brain-Computer Interface
(BCI), assistive robotics, intelligent embedded systems, bio-inspired systems, evolvable hardware, self-organising
and self-adapting computational systems, self-repair of complex embedded systems, and intelligent monitoring and
control of industrial systems. The ISEL group has several EU collaborations; are board members of
EURON:European Robotics Network, (an EU funded network of excellence) and as a result has a range of
international links in the European robotics community. The research work on the BCI is being undertaken in
collaboration with Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast and Guger Technologies, a spin off company from the Graz BCI
group of the Technical University of Graz, Austria, involved in manufacturing of BCI systems.
University of Birmingham, UK
The Natural Computation Group led by Prof. Xin Yao at UB has more than 50 full-time researchers. Prof.. Xin Yao,
Dr. Xiaoli Li and two senior PhD students will participate in this project. The Group, including the Centre of
Excellence for Research in Computational Intelligence and Applications (CERCIA), has currently more than £4
million external funding. It completed a very successful Asia-ITC project in 2002, where partner countries include
India and Germany. In terms of UB, it is one of the leading European universities. It has more than £70 million
external funding each year. It has rich experience of managing large EU projects, more than £10 million each year.
UB also has right research expertise needed for the project, especially in computational intelligence techniques for
intelligent systems (including evolutionary computation, neural networks and intelligent robotics). UB’s standing in
the world is partially indicated by the editorship of major IEEE Transactions and many other journals, and
competitive grants from a number of different sources. It is also worth noting that UB has an active EU grant on
intelligent robotics at the moment. In terms of industrial links, UB has worked with over 100 companies in the last
few years, including both large multinationals and local SMEs.
IOE, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
The IOE research team consists of two lead researchers Dr. Arabinda Mishra, and Mr. AC Mahendra and 2 M.Sc.
students. IOE needs logistic support to embark upon robotic education in a full swing.

Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
th
Call for Proposals, 2006 Page
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FULL APPLICATION FORM

Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
th
Call for Proposals, 2006 Page
8
I. THE ACTION
1. DESCRIPTION

1.1 Title:
A Collaborative Academic Program for Innovation in Intelligent Assistive
Robotics



1.2
Location
(s)

• Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK), India
• International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIITH), India
• Institute of Automation (IAT), University of Bremen, Germany;
• University of Ulster, Magee Campus(UUM), UK

University of Birmingham(UB), UK.

• Institute of Engineering (IOE), Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal



1.3 Cost of the action and amount requested from the European Commission

Total eligible cost of the action
Amount requested from the
European Commission
% of total eligible cost of action
EUR 1 069 666

EUR 748 852

% 70.00

NB: The % of total eligible cost of the action is calculated by dividing the Amount requested from the European
Commission by the Total eligible costs of the action and multiplying by 100.

Please note that the cost of the action and the contribution requested from the European Commission have to be
expressed in EURO


























Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
th
Call for Proposals, 2006 Page
9
1.4 Summary (Maximum 1 page)

Duration of the
action
36 months
Objectives of
the action
Overall objective(s)
• Human resource development: 15 faculty members from six institutes (UK, Germany,
India and Nepal) will supervise 22 Ph.D. and masters students jointly in the field of
assistive robotics.
• Curriculum Development: Institute of Engineering, IOE, Nepal will be assisted in robotic
education.
Specific objective
• To develop specialized man-power in assistive robotics through collaborative basic and
experimental research.
• To develop a long vision in assistive robotic research through two international
workshops so that a far-reaching impact can be made in this direction. In this regard the
help of experts from EUROP, EURON and such bodies will be sought.
• To augment graduate level teaching courses in Asian Universities through synchronous
e-learning system from European Universities and vice-versa
• To conduct practical experiments on assistive robotic systems in European University
from an Asian university through tele-robotic concept and to duplicate this facility among
Asian Universities.
• To conduct road-shows on assistive robotic systems in EU and India to increase
awareness among potential users.
• To assist Institute of Engineering, Tribhuvan University, Nepal in the field of industrial
automation and robotics so that they can start doing indigenous research in the field of
robotics. It is planned that IOE will be helped to set up a robotics lab as well as to
develop course curriculum in robotics.
Partner(s)
• Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK), India
• International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIITH), India
• IAT, University of Bremen, Germany;
• University of Ulster, Magee Campus (UUM), UK
• University of Birmingham (UB), UK.
• Institute of Engineering (IOE), Tribhuvan University, Nepal
• FWBI, an organization for transfer of technology – an associate
• An SME Invacare UK Limited – an associate
Target group(s)
Partner Universities of this proposal will directly benefit in terms of scientific knowledge gained,
sufficiency attained in assistive robotics and specialized man-power.
Final
beneficiaries
Health-care system will be benefitted so also disabled community. Specialized man-power
developed through this proposal will contribute further to research in assistive robotics, so also
they may play a significant role in industrial sectors such as car-manufacturing units in India.
EU can take benefit of such a scenario to attain a competitive edge.
Estimated
results
• 19 Ph.D. students and 3 masters’ students will be benefitted through joint supervision
in an international collaborative ambience.
• Synchronism in EU-Asia education system in the field of assistive robotics through
synchronous e-learning and telerobotics will be brought out.
• Through FWBI transfer of technology to SMEs will be ensured.

Further promotion of EU-Asia link.

Main activities
• Human resource development
• Synchronism in Assistive robotics education between EU and ASIA through
synchronous e-learning and tele-robotics.
• Logistic support to IOE Nepal for robotics education.
• Visibility of EU-Asia collaborative efforts through international workshops, dissemination
of results through conference proceedings and journal publications as well as road
shows.
• FWBI will act as technology transfer unit for exchange of ideas from academia to SMEs.
So also Invacare UK Limited will closely monitor the research outcome for translating to
feasible technology.


Asia-Link Programme: Application Form, 5
th
Call for Proposals, 2006 Page
10

1.5 Objectives (Maximum 1 page)
The main objectives of the proposal A Collaborative Academic Program for Innovation in Intelligent Assistive
Robotics are in the area of human resource development and Curriculum Development. Design of innovative
intelligent assistive robots for human assistance is necessary for EU and Asia and main thrust is given to joint
supervision of Ph.D. and Masters’ students in basic and experimental research in this cutting edge-technology. 15
faculty members will jointly supervise 22 Ph.D. and Master’s students for carrying out high-quality technological
innovation in intelligent assistive robotics. Since the transfer of results to new or enhanced products is a core
element in engineering research, in this proposal Invacare UK limited, a manufacturing sector in rehabilitation
product development and FWBI Bremen, a transfer organisation are included. Faculty members will interact with
industry in Asia and Europe to learn from first hand experiences of the different methods and approaches in
European and Asian Companies. In a cooperating world, such industry-academia interactions will enhance EU-
Asia scientific link that will have long-term sustainability.

Intelligent assistive robotics is highly multi-disciplinary and involves many different research fields. This is an ideal
co-theme for linking universities from EU and Asia together since the broad coverage of different disciplines
enables us to collaborate better at the university level and generate higher impact. In this regard, the Ph.D. thesis
topics are so selected that expertise of partner-institutes complement each other resulting in a win-win situation for
both EU and Asia. Ph.D. and Master’s students will be trained under joint supervision while availing the best
facilities that are there in partner institutes and associated manufacturing sector. In addition, specialized man-
power development in smart wheelchairs and redundant manipulator systems as envisioned in this proposal will
have an additional impact in industrial robotics given the fact that India has a large market in automobile industrial
products where EU is going to play a major role.

Another key aspect of this proposal is that partner-Universities will associate with an organization FWBI which is
specialized in the transfer of research results from academia to SMEs and large companies which are active in the
field of intelligent industrial and assistive robots.

The present consortium will enhance their existing curricula with the goal to complement each other much better
and define a standard in the education for assistive robots. New methods for long distance learning and learning in
different cultures will be developed. In this context, two important objectives of the proposal are:

• Development of a synchronous e-learning scheme among partner-institutes to augment graduate level
courses.
• Partner-institutes will be connected through tele-robotic systems to create one virtual laboratory so that
students can verify their algorithms through remote experimentation on a physical set-up available in
another laboratory.

The proposal is so planned that each new Ph.D. student recruited in an Asian University will spend one year in EU
partner-institutes while a master’s student will carry out his/her master’s thesis in one of the EU partner-institutes.
Similarly new Ph.D. student recruited in EU will visit India for one year. Besides senior students from EU and Asia
will have exchange visit to get the maximum benefit of the joint supervision. Given the fact that out of 22, 15
students are from Asia, it is hoped that the maximum benefit of the Asia-link program will be derived by properly
training the great human-potential available in India and Nepal while maximally utilizing the facilities in EU and
Indian Universities. Simultaneously the provision of 11 exchange visits of lead researchers for joint supervision will
lead to unique exchange of ideas and vibrant research atmosphere. If this proposal is funded by Asia-Link, then
award of Joint Ph.D. degrees among Asia-EU partners will be pursued. Such a provision will usher a new era in
Asia-EU scientific network and will have multiple effects.

The technology transfer institute FWBI will gather information about the research results of the different partner-
institutes and actively search for the transfer in new products and the upgrade of existing products. The transfer
institute will evaluate the different approaches in Asia and Europe and will feed this information back to the
researchers of the partner-institutes. It is expected that such a method will generate a consortium from academia
and industry to design new or enhanced products that would sustain the present collaboration.

Final outcome of project work will be demonstrated through road-shows in IAT, Bremen, UUM, UK, IITK, India and
IIITH, India where SMEs will be invited. Collaborative deals with interested SMEs will be made who would like to
adopt our technological innovations in assistive robotic systems. Two international workshops will be organized to
take further guidance from international experts as well as for the critical assessment of the progress.

Finally logistic support to IOE Nepal will be given so that IOE will act as a seed in Nepal to further disseminate the
outcomes from this project to other universities in Nepal in the future.


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1.6 Justification(Maximum 3 Pages)
1.6.1 Relevance of the action to the objectives and priorities of the programme
The relevance of the proposal lies in the area of human resource development and curriculum development.
Fifteen experienced faculty members will jointly supervise 14 senior Ph.Ds, 5 new PhDs and 3 senior master’s
students. Thus a total of 37 skilled persons in the field of assistive robotics will be benefited whose impact at the
global level will surely be felt after the successful implementation of the project. Two international workshops will
help this collaborative team to closely interact with the best experts in this field. While the project strongly
connects EU and Asia Universities through research collaboration, simultaneously synchronism in education in the
field of assistive robotics between EU and Asia will be achieved through e-learning and tele-education. A special
school for IOE, Nepal will be conducted to foster the robotics education there while formulating up-to-date course-
curricula in robotics.
1.6.2 Identification of perceived needs and constraints in the target country/ies, in particular in
the region(s) concerned.
As per a conservative estimate, 1 in 3500 of the world population may suffer from a neuro-muscular disorder. Such
people may have no means to communicate with the external world at all. They may be provided mobility and
enhanced autonomy through an appropriately designed practical brain-operated assistive robotic system.
European countries such as UK and Germany are facing problems such as ageing of society, lack of carers and
high labour cost of caregivers which can be adequately solved using customized assistive robotic systems. There
are about 70 million people with disabilities in the EU. However only two rehabilitation robots have reached
noticeable sales numbers on the market: the Handy1, and the MANUS. Based on the 2001 census, 27.87% of the
disabled people which amounts to 6.1 million suffer from movement disability in India alone. Additionally India
needs low cost assistive robots for the blind, deaf and dumb people. Above all, assistive and rehabilitation robots
are urgently needed in health-care institutions of both EU and India to take care of needy patients.
Since the field of assistive-robotics is relatively new, both basic and experimental researches are
necessary to develop low-cost prototypes such that disabled people can afford them. This would require
specialized man-power in the field of assistive robotics. India and Nepal are good sources of high quality man-
power and European Universities have best research facilities. Thus EU-India network at the university level can
easily tap young man-power of India to educate them in this field through a collaborative research and teaching
which allows exchange visits, advanced research under joint supervision and provision for high quality
experimental facilities.
Moreover robotic research is yet to take a shape in Nepalese context for which the principal cause lies in
the lack of academic curriculum regarding robotics and automation. These courses are vital for overall research
interest as well as industrial development. Furthermore there is practically no infrastructure for development of
robotics and automation in the country apart from a small student group, Robotics Club at IOE, TU. Thus the
proposal aims to provide logistic support to IOE so that young Nepalese students will be greatly benefited and will
be a great source of specialized man-power.
Our proposed project can leverage on the existing infrastructures that some partners have and as a result
save project effort and cost. For example, UUM has a very good facility for BCI based experiment, IAT has been
pioneer in the smart-wheel chair technology, and IITK has very good facility for experimentation in assistive
robotics. IAT runs a master’s course in robotics and automation, UUM runs several MSc courses in the broad area
of intelligent systems and the University of Birmingham has specialised MSc in natural Computation that can
provide many useful modules to the students.
1.6.3 Description of the target group(s) and final beneficiaries and estimated number
IIT, Kanpur, India
IITK research group consists of four lead researchers, namely, Dr. Laxmidhar Behera (LB), Prof. P.K. Kalra (PKK),
Dr. Ashish Dutta (AD) and Dr. Y.N. Singh; and five senior Ph.D. students, and two new Ph.D. students. The group
has extensive research experience in intelligent control, visual motor coordination, advanced neural learning
algorithms, advanced control architecture, visual tracking, obstacle avoidance, humanoid robots and data
modelling using soft-computing approaches. This proposal has been prepared taking into account of the area of
expertise necessary to develop an assistive robotic systems. The group is also well equipped with advanced
experimental set ups such as a IRB140 6DOF manipulator with stereo vision system, SGI Prism server for
visualization, a 7 DOF power-cube robot (redundant manipulator), Patrolbot for experimentation as automated
guided vehicle (AGV) and many prototypes of humanoid robots such as static walker and dynamic walkers.
Simultaneously the group investigating sponsored research with a funding of Rupees 25 million.

IIIT, Hyderabad, India
IIIT, Hyderabad research group consists of Dr. Madhav Krishna, Dr. Bipin Indurkhya and Dr. C. V. Jawahar and 2
senior students, one New Ph.D. students and one senior Masters’ students. The research focus is diverse and
involves multi robotic systems, mobile robotics and hybrid legged wheeled vehicles. Research projects include
probabilistic localization and mapping, SLAM, planning under constraints, multi sensor surveillance systems for
multi target detection, cooperative localization and navigation and force feedback control for hybrid legged

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wheeled vehicles and visual information processing. The center's activities include algorithms for off-the-shelf
mobile platforms as well as platform development. A micro robot is being developed with informal collaboration
with CAIR as a part of platform development to get insight into hardware and embedded system related issues as
well as to jump start swarm robotics research. Previously a four wheeled steered bot was developed in
collaboration with CMU. The research is being funded by DST, CAIR, DRDO, MCIT, HP Labs among others.

Institute of Automation (IAT), University of Bremen, Germany
IAT is one of the premier research institutes in Bremen and Germany in the field of automation and robotics. IAT
has three research groups: "Robotics and Process Automation", "System Dynamics and Control" along with "Real-
Time Systems". Currently, the institute has two professors; Prof. Axel Gräser and Prof. Thiele Georg, both
experienced and actively participating in current research projects of the institute. Apart from these professors, the
institute has three other associate professors, Prof. Rüdiger Kutzner, Prof. Kai Müller and Prof. Jörg Schultz. The
institute also has four experienced researchers Dr. Dorin Aiteanu, Dr. Bernhard Graimann, Dr. Ola Friman, and Dr.
Ivan Volosyak each of them concentrating their research on several topics namely; Computer Vision, Augmented
Reality, Signal Processing, Robust Image processing methods and Human Brain Interface. There are also,
eighteen international PhD students; and several master and diploma students as research assistants.
The institute is currently pursuing active research in dealing with different aspects of automation and
robotics. It covers topics like computer vision, robust image processing, reactive sensor based architecture, brain-
computer interface, human machine interface, augmented reality, mapped virtual reality, motion planning, software
framework for service robotics, and control systems. There have been different successful projects in the
respective areas which are either completed or currently being pursued in collaboration with different research
partners around Europe and Asia. To name a few from the many project partners, the institute has strong
colloborations with Bien’s System Control Laboratory (BSCL), KAIST, Korea, Bremen Zentrum für Mechatronik
(BCM), Forschungsverbund Logistik (FOLO), Zentrum für Kognitionswissenschaften (ZKW).
In teaching the IAT is responsible for the international Master program on ‘Information and Automation
Engineering’, a 2 year course program completely taught in English. IAT is also responsible for the specialization in
‘Automation and Robotics’ for the B.Sc. and M.Sc. studies in Systems Engineering.
On an academic note, each year several students visit the institute as exchange students under the
umbrella of exchange student programs like ERASMUS, SOCRATES, DAAD, etc.
The institute boasts excellent laboratory setups, hardware, and software required in the fields of robotics,
process automation, and control systems. Students are trained to attain theoretical and practical knowledge on
cutting edge technologies over the available range of laboratorial facilities.
The institute gets funding from several research projects that are currently being carried out. The
undertaken research projects are supported by various funding institutes and industries ranging from the local
government based research funding institutions and the European Commission. Presently the EU-FP6 research
programs BRAINROBOT is coordinated by IAT. On a national level the research programs AMAROB and MLK are
coordinated by IAT. Prof. Graeser is a visiting advisory professor at KAIST, Korea and member of the FWBI board.

University of Ulster, Magee, UK
The UUM research team consisting of three academic staff Dr. G. Prasad (GP), Prof. T. M. McGinnity (TMM), and
Dr. Liam P. Maguire (LPM) and three existing senior PhD students Pawel Herman (PH), Alan Browne (AB) and
Philip Vance (PV), is part of Intelligent Systems Engineering Laboratory (ISEL) research group based at the
University of Ulster, Magee Campus (UUM) which is one of the largest universities in the UK. The group research
addresses complex problems in several areas such as Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), assistive robotics,
intelligent embedded systems, bio-inspired systems, evolvable hardware, self-organising and self-adapting
computational systems, self-repair of complex embedded systems, and intelligent monitoring and control of
industrial systems. Senior PhD students associated with this proposal are researching in the area of BCI , optical
flow-based navigation and wireless network-based localisation of a motorized wheelchair . The ISEL group has
several EU collaborations; are board members of EURON2:European Robotics Network, (EU funded network of
excellence) and as a result has a range of international links in the European robotics community. The research
work on the BCI is being undertaken in collaboration with Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, UK and Guger
Technologies, a spin off company from the Graz BCI group of the Technical University of Graz, Austria, involved in
manufacturing of BCI systems. The group has been successful in attracting research funding from a range of
sources such as UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), EU and local government.
More recently, a 5 year Research Council UK (RCUK) Fellowship has been secured to research on biologically-
inspired hardware systems.
Some relevant recent grants are:
• SenseMaker - a multi-sensory, task-specific adaptable perception system, (IST-2001-34712) Funded by
the European Commission under IST research programme on Life-like Perception, (0.5M Euros), 2002-05.
• Neurofeedback for Enhanced Use of Mental Practice in Stroke Survivors and EEG-based Brain-Computer
Interface, funded by Department of Learning, Govt. of N. Ireland, (£5k), 2006.
In terms of experimental facilities, BCI projects are supported by a state-of-the-art EEG-based BCI system bought
from Guger Technologies OEG, Austria. The system is installed in a screened room, which is part of the advanced
experimental facility of ISEL at the School of Computing and Intelligent Systems. It has 56 EEG channels and 8

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electromyogram (EMG) channels interfaced to a high power industrial PC for Bio-signal processing under the
MATLAB environment. The system also has an additional stimulation unit for interfacing both analogue and digital
devices such as prosthetic limbs. A mobile BCI experimental setup is also available for on-site experimentation
outside the lab in normal working environment. ISEL also has a well-resourced mobile robotics laboratory. It has a
computer-controlled power wheel-chair and a robotic manipulator, Peoplebot, a fleet of Khepera robots. The group
has recently procured a high specification FPGA platform (with an associated cost of £250K) that will enable the
implementation of very large scale neural networks that would have performance comparable to sub-regions of the
human brain.

The University of Birmingham, UK
The Natural Computation Group led by Prof. Xin Yao at UB has more than 50 full-time researchers (including PhD
students). Prof.. Xin Yao, Dr. Xiaoli Li and two PhD students will participate in this project. The Group, including
The Centre of Excellence for Research in Computational Intelligence and Applications (CERCIA), has currently
more than £4 million of external funding. It completed a very successful Asia-ITC project in 2002, where partner
countries include India and Germany. In terms of UB, it is one of the leading European universities. It has more
than £70 million external funding each year. It has rich experience of managing large EU projects, more than £10
million each year. There is a well-established infrastructure in UB for managing externally funded projects and for
ensuring their success. UB also has right research expertise needed for the project, especially in computational
intelligence techniques for intelligent systems (including evolutionary computation, neural networks and intelligent
robotics). UB’s standing in the world is partially indicated by the editorship of major IEEE Transactions and many
other journals, and competitive grants from a number of different sources. It is also worth noting that the UB has an
active EU grant on intelligent robotics at the moment. In terms of industrial links, we have worked with over 100
companies in the last few years, including both large multinationals and local SMEs.

IOE, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
The IOE research team consists of two lead researchers Dr. Arabinda Mishra and Mr. Mahendra and 2 master’s
students. IOE which was established in 1972 under the Tribhuvan University, Nepal has become not only a leading
institute in Nepal but a reputed institute at regional level. In this journey it has received many academic
development projects and implemented successfully. Among them the institute has able to receive and manage
the biggest engineering project of 20 million US Dollar during 1989-1999 to enhance the engineering education in
Nepal as a whole with the assistance of donor agencies CIDA (Canada), SDC (Swiss), IDA (World Bank) etc.
Although there is practically no infrastructure for development of robotics and automation in Nepal, the Institute of
Engineering, T.U. has become the foremost leading institution devoted to developing and strengthening the field of
robotics in Nepal. A Robotics Club was established in 2001 in the institute. Since then it has achieved following;
• Has built some robots mainly for sports and participated in some international competitions held in
countries like, Japan (2002), Thailand(2003), and China (2005).
• In two international robot competitions in year 2004 and 2005, organized by IIT Bombay, India, it achieved
third position with 500 dollars prize in 2004 and ‘Best Idea and Implementation Award’ in 2005.
• Also presently it is engaged in developing some prototypes of ‘industrial robot’, ‘obstacle sensing robot’,
‘escalator’, and ‘solar car’.
1.6.4 Reasons for the selection of the target group(s) and identification of their needs and
constraints. How does the Action contribute to the needs of the target group(s) and final
beneficiaries?
Interestingly 5 partner institutes have been working in intelligent systems design for application in robotics. IITK
and UUM have been collaborating for last one year while UB has been collaborating with the Mechanical
Engineering Department of IITK since 2001, when an Asia-ITC grant was awarded to them. IIITH and IAT Bremen
have been collaborating in assistive robotics as well. Although IAT, Bremen is ahead of other partners in assistive
robotics research, coincidentally all partners have shown their interests to work united in this field of assistive
robotics as everybody’s expertise is complementary to each other. UB group who are very strong in evolutionary
algorithms will take the lead in guiding research in evolutionary ensemble neural networks for performing complex
tasks as well as in evolvable hardware design for fault-tolerant control. IAT Bremen will lead the research in visual
navigation while UUM will lead the research in BCI based natural communication between disabled and robotic
system. IITK will lead the research in robot control and exo-skeleton while IIITH will lead in integrated navigation
system. All these aspects of research is complementary for all partners who will gain expertise in this multi-
disciplinary field of assistive robotics. Simultaneously all five partners will assist IOE, Nepal to come up in robotic
research so that the seed in Nepal is properly groomed to further disseminate the outcomes from this project to
other universities in Nepal in the future.






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1.7 Detailed description of activities(Maximum 9 Pages)

Title: A Collaborative Academic Program for Innovation in Intelligent Assistive
Robotics

The project proposal includes activities in four main areas as discussed below:

1.7.1 Specialized Man-power Building Through Basic and Experimental Research
in
Assistive Robotics

Common Theme for the Ph.D. thesis work:
As per a conservative estimate, 1 in 3500 of the world’s population may suffer from a neuro-muscular disability
such as motor neurone disease (MND), and may have no means of communicating with the external world. This
implies nearly 0.3 million people with severe movement disability in India alone. In addition, out of 21.9 million
disabled people (Sensus 2001), 6.1 million suffer from movement disability. For providing independence and
assisted living to such people, it is intended to investigate intelligent systems for devising an autonomous
wheelchair and robotic arm combination which allows the user to interact through a brain-computer interface (BCI)
as and when needed, while the combination performs activities of daily living autonomously through visual
interaction with the environment. In this proposal we identify Master’s and PhD thesis topics that would investigate
the critical issues involved in the development of a low cost brain-operated visually navigated smart wheel-chair
equipped with intelligent robotic arms.

The first area to be investigated is an EEG-based brain-computer interface (BCI) operated asynchronously by the
user, based on mapping of imagined-tasks related mental states to respective computer commands. Existing BCI
systems are mainly driven synchronously under computer control and lack sufficient accuracy and robustness.
Based on promising results obtained from the UUM partner’s recent BCI work, we believe, it is timely to investigate
a user driven asynchronous BCI. Quantum neural network (QNN), pioneered by the Indian partner (IITK), has the
unique ability to track time-varying probability-density-function associated with a stochastic signal. The project will
therefore investigate modelling of stochastic EEG signals related with imagined-tasks using a QNN based feature
extraction technique for enhanced classification accuracy and robustness. Simultaneously an enhanced type-2
fuzzy logic based classifier design for improved uncertainty handling for the EEG signal will be investigated, which
will build on the UUM partner’s current promising work. The intended actions as interpreted by the BCI will be
validated through a specially designed virtual keyboard, before forwarding to activate the wheelchair or the
manipulator. Simultaneously a scene reader for reading visual map of the environment will be designed, using
which the disabled person can point to the desired target.

The visual tracking of a wheelchair acting as an automated guided vehicle (AGV) requires very accurate target
position prediction (TPP). TPP of a moving target needs a thorough investigation since a real-time algorithm that
would demand less computation while providing a greater accuracy is still elusive in the current literature. The
position estimation algorithm has to be succeeded by a motion control algorithm that would ensure accurate target
following of the AGV. The project will investigate an optimal path following algorithm using intelligent techniques
which requires minimum examples during training. German partner (IAT) has recently proposed an algorithm that
involves feedback structure in image-processing. Enhancement of this idea for TPP while comparing with methods
such as unscented Kalman filter as well as quantum neural network pioneered by Indian partner will be
investigated in detail. Safe navigation of the smart wheel chair in a dynamically changing environment is still a
challenge. Traditionally the AI or algorithmic aspect of mobile robotics consists of five pillars: localization, mapping,
exploration, planning and collision avoidance. A completely autonomous robot would want all these modules
working together in tandem seamlessly performing their tasks. An integrated navigation system consisting of these
modules will be developed. The Indian partner (IIITH) has developed some landmark algorithm --- while UK
partner (UUM) have been successful using optical-flow based obstacle avoidance scheme.

Self-organised control architecture for redundant manipulator system interfaced with a visual-feedback system will
be designed in such a way that it is robust, stable and smart. Model based control systems for redundant
manipulators without visual feedback has already been tested in real-time. Visual motor coordination based
manipulation schemes already exist for non-redundant systems in which the Indian Partner (IITK) has necessary
expertise in both basic and experimental aspects. However, a visual motor coordination of a redundant
manipulator system that simultaneously avoids obstacles while performing smart manipulative jobs is a challenge
since the learning problem involves constrained optimization with multiple objective functions and a real-time
execution capability. The expertise of the IITK group will be combined with novel methodology of feedback
structure in image processing by the German partner to come up with a practical and efficient solution to the
problem.

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In general, control algorithms for smart wheel chair and redundant manipulator are very challenging given the
back-drop of time-varying complex system characteristics requiring on-line adaptation and constrained
optimization. One novel way to solve this problem is to apply evolutionary techniques. Ensemble of neural
networks can be trained to perform complex tasks through evolutionary approaches, so also evolvable hardware
can be designed to develop fault-tolerant controls systems for the smart-wheel chair and redundant manipulator
combination. In this regard, expertise of the UK partner (UB) will be shared by other partners to develop suitable
evolvable control algorithm and control hardware for assistive robotics.


In some cases of disability due to old age, disease or injury, people prefer muscular function augmentation through
exo-skeletal devises so that they could perform the activities of daily living (ADL) using their own hands rather than
an external robotic manipulator. Building on the expertise of the IITK partner, a PhD topic is identified to deal with
the development of an exo-skeletal robotic device for supporting the hand of disabled persons. Its basic
mechanical structure will consist of a mechanical hand that has three to four degrees of freedom at the wrist, and
is attached to the arm below the elbow. The hand will consist of a two finger gripper that is force or position
controlled. The two fingers would have two degrees-of-freedom (DOF) each and will be designed so that it can
hold objects of daily use. The wearer will communicate with the hand by an advanced man machine interface
consisting of sensors, actuators and a controller.

In a nutshell, the thesis topics identified in this proposal is based on mutual expertise available among partners. 14
senior Ph.D. students and three master’s students who are already working on the various aspects of assistive
robotics will be given further assistance of joint supervision and complementary laboratory facilities for
experimentation. Five new Ph.D. students will be funded through this Asia link program to provide joint supervision.
It is envisioned that successful completion of these thesis topics will go a long way in assisting the disabled
community while the outcome will further cater to various other generic needs in the field of assistive robotics and
industrial automation. FWBI will act as an associate partner for transfer of technology from this joint collaborative
effort to SMEs. We further elaborate below each thesis topic with detail description of joint supervision and
exchange visits.

Project Details:

1. A Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) for natural communication
Supervisors:
Dr. G. Prasad, Prof. T.M McGinnity, UUM.
Collaborator External Supervisor:
Dr. L. Behera, IITK.
Senior Ph.D. students:
P. Herman, UUM spends 4 months at IITK, Ms. Indrani Kar,IITK spends 6 months at
UUM.
New Ph.D. Student:
1(UUM) student spends 12 months at IITK.
For monitoring and joint supervision, GP will visit IITK for four months and LB will visit UUM for two months.

This project will build on the expertise of the UUM partner to classify the brain imagery patterns so as to generate
action commands as desired by the disable person. UUM’s work on BCI design based on modelling of movement
imagery (MI) related EEG time-series data using neural networks[1] and self-organising fuzzy neural networks
(SOFNNs) [5] and classifier design using interval type-2 fuzzy logic [2] will be revisited. Quantum Neural Network
(QNN) approach [18][19][20][21]to time-series data modelling as pioneered by the Indian Partner (IITK) will be
further investigated. An algorithm using QNN to model MI-related EEG time-series data and obtain appropriate
feature patterns will be developed. The performance of the QNN based predictive algorithm will be evaluated
against other approaches[1][7]. Simultaneously an enhanced type-2 fuzzy logic (T2FL) classifier will be devised
and its performance will be evaluated against existing approaches [1][4][6][7] as well as QNN based algorithms.
Once a robust classifier is designed, then action commands have to be generated. An enhanced predictive virtual
keyboard (VK) extending the current work [3] will be designed to create a system for validating the action
commands before their eventual execution. A scene reader will be designed that will facilitate reading the details
from a captured scene, so as to point to the desired target using BCI. Finally experiments with both able-bodied
and disabled subjects to evaluate the capability of QNN/T2FL-based BCI configured to operate asynchronously the
VK with scene reader and feedback for running the AGV and a manipulator will be conducted in UUM and IITK.

2. Visual tracking of a smart wheel-chair operated as an automated guided vehicle (AGV)
Supervisor:
Dr L. Behera, IIT, Kanpur
Collaborator External Supervisors:
Prof A. Graeser, IAT, Bremen, Dr. G. Prasad, UUM, UK and Dr. C.V.
Jawahar, IIITH.
Senior Ph.D. students:
Swagat Kumar, IITK spends 4 months at UUM, A Browne, UUM student spends 4
months at IAT.
New Ph.D student:
1(IITK) spends 6 months at IAT and 6 months at UUM.

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For joint supervision LB visits IAT and GP visits IAT for two months.

The IAT group has developed great expertise [9] in this area and collaborating partners will take advantage of this
expertise through exchange visits. Visual tracking (VT) algorithms including target position prediction (TPP) and
motion control algorithms for AGVs [9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] will be critically reviewed. An efficient visual
tracking algorithm using unscented Kalman Filter [17] will be developed and will be implemented on Patrolbot at
IITK where senior Ph.D. students from IAT and UUM will also be involved. Simultaneously this algorithm will be
tested on Friend II and Peoplebot in IAT and UUM respectively. A TPP algorithm using QNN [18][19][20][21] will be
developed and its performance will be evaluated with existing algorithms. The successful implementation of the
algorithm on Patrolbot at IITK will be shared with collaborating partners. Feedback structure in image processing
[22][23] is a closed-loop digital image processing which has been successfully implemented by IAT group for visual
tracking. This novel concept will be further investigated by the collaborative partners to improve the performance of
the visual tracking algorithms. A combined AGV motor dynamics and camera model will be developed [24][25] for
efficient implementation of the motion control algorithm of the smart wheel chair. A novel adaptive motion control
algorithm using SOFNN [8] will then be developed. Real-time test and verification of BCI operated AGV on
Peoplebot and wheelchair at UUM, Patrolbot at IITK and Friend II at IAT will be carried out.

3. Development of an integrated navigation system for a wheel chair like assistive robot
Supervisors:
Prof. Bipin Indurkhya, Dr. M. Krishna, IIITH
Collaborator External Supervisors:
Prof. A. Graeser, IAT Bremen, Prof. PK Kalra, IITK India
Senior Ph.D. students:
AK Pandey, IITH, a senior Ph.D student spends 4 months at IAT.
New Ph.D. Student:
1(IIITH) student spends 12 months at IAT.
For monitoring and joint supervision M. Krishna and Bipin Indurkhy visit IAT for two months.

Traditionally the AI or algorithmic aspect of mobile robotics consists of five pillars: localization, mapping,
exploration, planning and collision avoidance. A completely autonomous robot would want all these modules
working together in tandem seamlessly performing their tasks. As a part of this project we would develop an
integrated navigation system consisting of these modules. Based on a particular task at hand currently some or all
of these modules will come into play. The research component of this effort includes actions taken by the robot
based on visual and other sensory cues from patients, localization as well as obstacle avoidance in dynamic
worlds especially if the wheel chair is moving on crowded floors or corridors traversed by other patients and
visitors. In this regard the experience of IAT team [26][27][28] is complementary to the experiences of IIITH team
[29][30][31][32][33][34][35] and IITK team [36][37][38][39]. Thus a collaborative research in this regard will lead to
development of efficient sensor based architecture and algorithms for a mobile robot for safe navigation. Although
IIITH group will take benefit of the infrastructure facility available at IAT and IITK, it would like to procure a wheel
chariot from Mobile Robots Inc that will cost USD 12,824.

4. Intelligent control of a redundant manipulator system using visual feedback
Supervisors:
Dr. Laxmidhar Behera, Dr. Ashish Dutta, IITK, India
Collaborator External Supervisors:
Prof. Axel Graeser, IAT, and Dr. G. Prasad, UUM.
Senior Ph.D. students:
AK Ray and S Kumar from IITK spend 6 months at UUM and IAT respectively, 1 IAT
student visits IITK.
Prof Graeser visits IITK for two months.

Current research projects in redundant manipulators are addressing novel control techniques for redundancy
resolution so that the manipulator can perform extra tasks in addition to the basic task of end-effector trajectory
control, thus increasing the versatility of the manipulators in both assistive and industrial robotics. Both IAT and
IITK groups have been working on manipulator control using visual feedback and both groups have 7DOF
redundant manipulator systems. Manipulator control using visual feedback (VF) [40][41][42][43] schemes will be
critically analyzed as applicable to redundant manipulators. The redundancy resolution schemes such as task-
based configuration control [44][45] will be investigated. Adaptive control schemes [46][47] as applicable to a
redundant manipulator will be derived. A visual feedback control scheme using fuzzy TS models [48][49] will be
developed. These algorithms will be implemented on a 7DOF power-cube robot both at IITK and IAT. UUM team
will be involved in developing an embedded control system using FPGA for hardware implementation of the neural
control algorithms. Self-organized map (SOM) based visual motor coordination schemes KSOM [50][51][52],
PSOM[53], and QSOM[54] as extended to redundant manipulator system where redundancy is resolved through
constrained optimization will be investigated for developing an efficient algorithm. The feedback structure in image
processing [22][23] will be introduced to make visual-motor coordination scheme more robust and fast. These
algorithms will be implemented in real-time on a 7DOF power cube robot both at IITK and IAT. The performance
will be compared with Visual motor coordination using SOFNN algorithm [8] and type-2 fuzzy system based
learning algorithm [2].



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5. Neural Network Ensemble Learning for Robotic Control
Supervisors:
Prof. Xin Yao, UB, UK.
Collaborator External Supervisors:
Dr. L. Behera, IITK, and Dr. AK Mishra, IOE Nepal.
Senior Ph.D. students:
Mr Awhan Patnaik, IITK will spend 6 months in UB, 1(UB student) will spend 4 months in
IITK.
Senior Master’s student:
Ramesh Chaudhary, IOE, Nepal, a senior M.Sc. student will spend 6 months at UB
during his/her thesis work.
For joint supervision LB visits UB for two months and XY visits IITK for two months.

Many real-world problems are too large and too complex for a single neural network (NN) to solve alone. An NN
ensemble consisting of several individual NNs has been shown to be able to improve NN's generalization
performance [55][56][57]. There have been much work in training NN ensembles [55][56][57], in mixtures of
experts, and in various boosting and bagging methods. However, all these methods are used to adapt weights in
an ensemble. The structure of the ensemble, e.g., the number of NNs in the ensemble, and the structure of
individual NNs, e.g. the number of hidden nodes, are all designed manually and fixed during the training process.
While manual design of NNs and ensembles might be appropriate for problems where rich prior knowledge and an
experienced NN expert exist, it often involves a tedious trial-and-error process for many real-world problems
because rich prior knowledge and experienced human experts are hard to get in practice. This project will study
constructive ensemble learning algorithms, where the ensemble structure, NN structure and NN weights are
trained automatically. In practice, a robot will often encounter new environments that it has never seen before, it is
essential for the robot to learn incrementally and continuously. NN ensembles are well-suited to continuous
incremental learning due to its population-based structure. This project will investigate this aspect. So there is a
need for two graduate students in this project. In particular, the objectives of this project include:
• to implement and compare experimentally selected existing ensemble training algorithms on different
robotic tasks;
• to analyse the above experimental results and study in detail the impact of different ensemble and NN
structures on the results;
• to propose and study constructive ensemble learning algorithms, which can learn the structures as well
as weights;
• to develop continuous incremental learning algorithms based on neural network ensembles;
• to adapt the new learning algorithm [58] developed by the IITK partner for ensemble networks;
• to evaluate the proposed algorithms using real robots both at UB and IITK.

6. Evolutionary Design of Fault-Tolerant Control Systems
Supervisor:
Prof. Xin Yao, UB
Collaborator External Supervisors:
Dr. Laxmidhar Behera, IITK, Dr. AK Mishra, IOE Nepal.
Senior PhD students:
Mr. Ashutosh Dwivedi, IITK will spend 6 months in UB, 1 (UB student) will spend 4 months
at IOE, Nepal.
Senior Master’s student:
Suresh Gautam, IOE, Nepal, a senior M.Sc. student will spend 6 months in UB for his
thesis work.
For joint supervision, AKM visits UB for two months.

Evolvable hardware (EHW) [59][60] refers to one particular type of hardware whose architecture/structure and
functions change dynamically and autonomously in order to improve its performance in performing certain tasks.
The emergence of this new field in recent years has been influenced profoundly by the progresses in
reconfigurable hardware and evolutionary computation. Traditional hardware is notorious for its inflexibility. It is
impossible to change the hardware structure and its functions once it is made. However, most real world problems
are not fixed. They change with time. In order to deal with these problems efficiently and effectively, different
hardware structures are necessary. EHW provides an ideal approach to make hardware "soft" by adapting the
hardware structure to a problem dynamically.

The primary aim of this project is to study the evolutionary design of fault-tolerant control system using our idea of
negative correlation and artificial speciation [61][62]. In addition to fault-tolerance, the evolutionary approach is also
very good at discovering hardware designs that are hard to hit upon by human designers [63]. This will be
particularly appropriate for robotic control where the controller adapts its architecture and function automatically. In
particular, the objectives of this project include:
• to study the evolutionary design of fault-tolerant circuits when redundancy is used;
• to study different diversity measures, especially negative correlation and artificial speciation, in evolving
fault-tolerant circuits;
• to compare and analyse evolved circuits with conventionally designed ones;
• to develop evolvable controller for robots.


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7. Developing an Open source Machine Vision Library for service and industrial robotic applications
Supervisor:
Prof. A. Graeser, IAT
Collaborator External Supervisors:
Dr. Ashish Dutta, IITK, Dr. L. Behera, IITK, Dr. G. Prasad, UUM, and Dr. B.
Indurkhya, IIITH..
Senior Ph.D. student:
KS Vuppala, IAT spends 4 months at IIITH.
New Ph.D. student:
1(IAT student) spends 12 months at IIITK.

There have been different open source machine libraries existent that are capable of providing low, middle and
higher level image processing functionalities [64][65][66][67]. What is missing is a general environment for
researchers and educationalists in being able to use the algorithms being or already developed by other peers who
work in the research field of machine vision. This problem is addressed by developing an interface to all the
developed algorithms for various industrial, service and assistive robotics applications. All the developed modules
are to be accumulated and made available via an interactive interface to the entire user community. By providing
such an interface, even beginners would be able to start using some of the common and existing modules of
Machine Vision. To develop such a generic open source interface in the various fields related to Machine Vision
could be a huge task. Hence, the main intention of this project is to develop common modules with in various
sectors of Machine Vision like 3D re-construction, 3-D visualization, visually guided robot control, visual servoing
and the integration of multiple sensor data. Modules will also support additional functionalities like robust image
processing, feature extraction, and object recognition methods.

The modules provided by the interface aim at reducing the preparation time for setting up new tasks or projects in
the field of Machine Vision. This can be attained when the user exploits the existing modules for solving different
specific tasks while trying to solve his main problem. The online version of the system enables the researchers and
users from different geographic locations, to be able to experience a “click and test” mechanism. With in this
cooperative program, the mentioned Machine Vision Interface can incorporate the algorithms and solutions from
the partner institutions. Apart from the knowledge sharing goals, the availability of such an interface would also
help in speeding up the training and exercise activities for developing specialised personnel in this field of
research.

8. Robotic Perception exploiting cognitive neuroscience
Supervisors:
Dr. L P. Maguire, Prof. TM McGinnity (UUM)
Collaborator External Supervisors:
Drs M. Krishna and CV Jawahar.
Senior Ph.D. student:
P.Vance, UUM spends 4 months at IIITH.
Senior Master’s student:
1(IIITH ) student spends 6 months at UUM.
Dr. M. Krishna will visit UUM for two months for joint supervision.

Cognitive neuroscience refers to the examination of the relationship between cognitive processes, such as
thinking, reasoning, learning and memory and the brain areas and processes associated with these cognitive
abilities. The Intelligent Systems Engineering laboratory has concentrated its research efforts on taking such
inspiration from biology to develop and refine computational architectures that mimic the capability of the human
brain. Such theoretical work is of particular relevance to assistive robotics as it aims to embody the robot with an
intelligence capability that mimics human behaviour.

The principal aim of the project is to exploit research in cognitive neuroscience to develop intelligent systems
engineering technological approaches in the production of a multi-sensory, task specific adaptable perception
system. The research will investigate designing intelligent systems to realise the multi-modal sensory interactions
for object recognition, constrained by varying environmental conditions such as light and background noise. The
research will be demonstrated by application to autonomous robotic control. The project will extend the
collaborative research results of the EU funded project Sensemaker http://isel.infm.ulst.ac.uk/sensemaker.html

In this proposal the experimental research will validate the higher cognitive models from psychophysical research
paradigms evaluated in the Sensemaker project. These models implement dynamic rules of cross-modal
integration, activity and time-dependent algorithms for internal prediction, goal directed attention, and transitions
between dominant or convergent sensory modalities according to changing environmental parameters. From an
intelligent systems engineering perspective they provide an opportunity to research the design of intelligent
machines and will lead to a new generation of dynamically adaptable, flexible architectures with multi-competent
working ranges, in some ways resembling the parallel processing capacities and perception capabilities of the
human brain. An exemplar application for such work is assistive robots as such implementations will embody the
robot with an intelligent capability to enable it to make informed decisions from a range of integrated inputs much
like a biological system. In practical terms the research will involve consideration of an appropriate host embedded
system using FPGA devices to emulate the inherent flexibility.

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9. Development of an exoskeletal robot for human hand support – mechanical design, sensor fusion, and
control
Supervisors:
Drs Ashish Dutta and L. Behera, IITK.
Collaborator External Supervisors:
Drs. M. Krishna, G. Prasad and Prof. A. Graeser
New Ph.D. students:
1(IITK) student spends 6 months at IAT and 6 months at UUM.
Ashish Dutta visits IAT for two months for joint supervision.

In order to improve the lives of persons with disability due to old age, disease or injury through human muscular
function augmentation, several types of exoskeletal devises have been built which can be classified into two main
groups. The first group is for helping the disabled perform daily actions like eating, walking etc., while the second
group is mainly for enhancing human capabilities (e.g. lifting heavy loads etc.). This PhD project proposal aims to
deal with the development of an exo-skeletal robot for supporting the hand of disabled persons. Its basic
mechanical structure consists of a mechanical hand that has three to four degrees of freedom at the wrist, and is
attached to the arm below the elbow. The hand consists of a two finger gripper that is force or position controlled.
The two fingers would have two degrees-of-freedom (DOF) each and will be designed so that it can hold objects of
daily use. The wearer will communicate with the hand by an advanced man machine interface consisting of
sensors, actuators and a controller. The hand may be controlled by tapping the EMG signals from the wearers’
muscles for the actuation of motors, or through an interface directly actuated by the wearer. Other methods of
actuation like voice actuation, pneumatic actuation, and thought-based actuation through BCI can also be
investigated. Touch sensors, force sensors and pressure sensors will provide information about the interaction with
the environment. The designed arm may be a replacement of a disabled persons arm or to provide support to a
person with impaired muscular functions.

It may also be used in rehabilitation of stroke patients, if they make use
of their paralysed hand in a co-operative arrangement in which mechanical assembly provides necessary
reinforcement to the existing strength in the paralysed hand and also command the movement through
thought/movement imagery and thus exercising the sensory motor cortex area. The total project contains elements
of mechanical design, sensor fusion, advanced control and human behaviour modelling.

At the end of these collaborative research studies, we will have definite idea how to communicate to an intelligent
robotic system using BCI system in conjunction with a virtual keyboard and a scene reader. These works are also
expected to facilitate visual tracking of both static and moving targets by a smart wheelchair while automatically
avoiding obstacles. It will also provide expertise about how to integrate an exoskeletal device or a manipulator
system with the wheel-chair so that the user can independently carry out most the activities of daily living (ADL).

1.7.2 Development of Innovative Interaction Systems

1. Synchronous e-learning system
Joint Supervisors:
Dr. YN Singh (IITK), and Dr. AK Mishra (IOE, Nepal)
Man-power support:
1 Project Assistant

Building on the current work in IITK, a synchronous e-learning system among universities in EU, India and Nepal
will be established. Some of the post graduate level courses will be augmented through special lectures delivered
by the experts in partner-institutes. During the first international workshop, a new course module on ‘Soft-
computing Applications in Assistive Robotics’ will be formalized and will be floated as a new course module at IITK.
This course module will be augmented by special lectures delivered from UUM, UB and IAT. Another post-
graduate level course module on ‘Intelligent Assistive Robotics’ will be formalized during the 2
nd
International
workshop. This course module will also be augmented by special lectures delivered from IITK, UUM and IAT.

2. Tele-robotics and performing experiments on remote physical hardware via internet
Joint Supervisors:
Dr. YN Singh (IITK), Prof. Graeser, IAT, Germany
Man-power support:
1 Project assistant
YN Singh will visit IAT for one month and UUM for one month to monitor the work of synchronous e-learning and
tele-robotics.

IAT, Bremen, IIT, Kanpur and UUM have very good experimental platforms for research in assistive robotics such
as brain-computer interface system, smart wheel chairs, redundant manipulators and visual control. In general
experiments in assistive robotic system require very costly equipments and every University may not have all the
facilities. For example, to develop a brain-operated smart wheel chair, we need to combine facilities of UUM and
IITK through tele-robotics so that researchers in both the places can have access to necessary equipments for
experimentation. In addition, many Asian Universities do not have proper infrastructure for robotics experiments.
Thus it is proposed to connect the labs of all partners associated with this proposal so that each researcher can
execute his algorithm in a remote physical hardware situated in another lab, via the Internet, in real time. Also
investigations will be made if one can perform experiment in two different set-ups situated in two different places.

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For example, it would be interesting to see if a UUM researcher can interface the BCI system located at UUM
with the smart wheel chair located at IIT, Kanpur. This project if becomes successful will usher a new era in
training and developing specialized man-power in assistive robotics.

1.7.3 Logistics Support to IOE, Nepal in Robotic Research

1. Robotics Education in IOE Nepal

Since IOE, Nepal has just entered into robotic research; the group needs academic and research support. A
special course module on Robotics and Automation will be devised during the 1
st
international workshop. Dr.
Arabinda K. Mishra, IOE will teach this course at IOE with the support from IITK and IIITH. A couple of faculty
members from IITK will deliver lectures for one week each at IOE.

2. Assisting IOE to set up a Robotics Laboratory
Following equipments will be procured:

1. A mobile robot – Patrolbot from Active-media Robotics: USD 41 035=Euro 33,116
2. A 4DOF power-cube robot from AMTEC, Berlin: Euro 20,000
3. Interesting control experimental modules: Inverted Pendulum and Mechatronics Control Kit from Quanser:
Euro 3000 each.


1.7.4 Long-Term Sustainability by Building Partnership with FWBI, Bremen and Invacare
UK limited

FWBI, Bremen is an enterprise that transfers technology from academia to SMEs and provides feedback about the
need of SMEs to academia. FWBI, Bremen has agreed to closely associate with this partnership to establish a
long term contact with some interested SMEs. In this regard, this partnership has been successful to motivate
Invacare UK limited, a leading manufacturer in smart wheel chair and assistive robotic aids, to efficiently tap the
project outcome. In fact, Invacare has already donated a smart wheel chair to UUM, one of the partners, for robotic
research. We expect that the present partnership will sustain in long run through this arrangement.

References
[1]. Coyle, DH, Prasad, G, McGinnity TM, “A Time-Series Prediction Approach to Extracting Features for a Brain-