My Hertha-Firnberg Project is over

Years fly by when you have fun…csm_weiss_roboter_c372ecbaa2

In 2012/2013 I got awarded with a Hertha-Firnberg postdoc scholarship, which enabled me to pursue my research on Human-Robot Collaboration. Have a look on the project website if you are interested in details. And as a nice ending my university also published a press article about the project today:

HOBBIT Project won Houska Video Award

Really proud to announce that the Hobbit project was not only nominated for the Houska award among the top 5 of 36 submission in the category “university research”, but even received the “best video” award. Congratulations to Prof. Markus Vincze for coordinating this EU-project and all the partners and collaborators for making it such a success. The Houska award is the highest-paying award in Austria for economically oriented research.

Details on the project can be found here:

The video can be found here:

Details on the award (unfortunatley only in German) here:


AssistMe project – Half-time

assistme_01_3c3c08954cTime flies by…the first year of the two-years project AssistMe (nationally funded project on Human-centered assistive robotics in production) is already over. We had exciting times in setting up a Universal Robots arm for two different use cases: assembly of automotive combustion engines and maching (polishing) of casting molds). We performed first user studies on teaching the robotic arm with end users (using a pupils lab eye-tracker which worked just fantastically plug and play, can only highly recommend!) and also qualitative interviews after three weeks of the robot being introduced in the assembly line. We will continue our study efforts with two more rounds of user studies for both use cases in the second year, after enhancing the robotic arm to make the teaching and collaboration more intuitive. I am already curious of comparing the data of all three studies in the end.

A first publication of our work will be presented here: (session 3 paper #3) and currently we have a second one submitted at the Austrian Robotics Workshop … keep fingers crossed 😉

Trip Report Joint Action Meeting


From July 1-3 I attended the Joint Action Meeting (JAM) in Budapest Hungary.

JAM is a bi-annual conference which brings together cognitive scientists and researchers from related disciplines who share an interest in individuals’ ability to act together. From the HRI community well-known suspects were present: Rachid Alami, Aurelie Clodic, Laurel Riek, and Tamara Lorenz and I presented the research from my Herta-Firnberg Scholarship research in the same session. Moreover, also a researcher from Aude Billard’s lab was there, presenting interesting research on robotic therapy for schizophrenia (AlterEgo) project.

I mainly presented my second human-human study on a collaborative task where the goal is not pre-defined. My study set-up was derived from the study design of a well-known member of the joint action community: Herbert Clark (Clark, H. H. & Krych, M. A. (2004). Speaking while monitoring addresses for understanding. Journal of Memory and Language, 50(1), 62-81). He was also in the audience when I presented and afterwards we had interesting questions on how cognitive science and robotics can collaborate better in future.

In general I have to say that the conference was really beneficial for my HRI research interests as it gave new perspectives on how humanities can inform robotics.

Right now I am writing up my Hertha-Firnberg research on Human-Human Joint Action for Human-Robot Interaction in a journal paper for the following Special Issue: Towards a framework for Joint Action for the International Journal on Social Robotics (eds. Aurelie Clodic, Cordula Vesper, Elisabeth Pacherie, Rachid Alami). There will also be a follow-up workshop held at ICSR2015 in Paris, where I can hopefully already present results on my first HRI study, which my colleague Markus Bajones and I are currently setting-up.

New project – AssistMe

The 1st of April was the official starting date for my new nationally-funded FFG project AssistMe. AssistMe develops and evaluates during a user-centered multistage process innovative means of interaction for programming and usage of a robot-based assistive system. Central topic is the integration of users in the concept development where the interaction paradigms are defined as well as in the evaluation stage of the developed technology. AssistMe examines the applicability of haptic (force feedback) interaction technology with means of machine vision respectively with methods from the field of spatial augmented reality. Together with two industrial companies universal applicability of the developed methodologies will be evaluated in two entirely different application scenarios. One field of application is the assembly of automotive combustion engines while the other UseCase treats the machining (polishing) of casting molds. My research will be the user-centered development and evaluation of the interaction modalities. More information can be found here:

First Field Trial in Vienna

So this was quick…in my 4th week at ACIN I already got the opportunity to conduct a first field trial together with project partners from
bkm design working group of the TransitBuddy project (for details see here:

TransitBuddy is a mobile platform that should help seniors navigating through unknown train stations plus caring their luggage. In this first field trial we used one mock-up of the TranistBuddy in an exploratory study with 3 participants and drove around (remote-controlled) in one building of TU Wien. We wanted to get inspirations for the design, following the “human action and experience approach” by Ylva Fernaeus. The observational and interview data we could gather is really insightful and based on it the colleagues from bkm design working group are now developing different conceptual design for the TransitBuddy.

I am curious if this amount of research opportunities continues like that in Vienna :-), until now it is just great and thanks to my colleague Markus Bader who offered me this specific opportunity!