Proposer: Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca "Enrico piaggio", Università degli studi di Pisa, Italy.
Accepted Feb 2005; started April 2005; duration 10 months.


This proposal is about charting a new territory, whose exploration has been only recently undertaken. The "territory" is that of physical Human-Robot Interaction (pHRI). Its "geographical features" mainly consist of:

  • Applications ("Destinations"): tens of examples of intelligent machines embedded in anthropic domains - i.e. environments shared by machines and humans, working together elbow-to-elbow, or even more closely;
  • Requirements ("Viability conditions"): safety, dependability, reliability, failure recovery, performance;
  • Technologies ("Via points"): sensors, actuators, mechanics, control, SW architectures;
  • Systems ("Trails"): connecting crucial components and leading to technological solutions to applications, while fulfilling the requirements;
  • Competences("Crews"): the centres of excellence among academic and industrial groups from which a successful research crew can be recruited.

This project aimed at drafting an atlas which will be useful in the near future to navigate in this new research field - using knowledge accumulated so far by pioneers to provide clear directions to new explorers that want to reach out for new, unexplored applications. It is in this sense a preparatory project, following which we expect not just one, but possibly a large number of other projects to be able to make headway into the bushes of a difficult, high-responsibility, yet fascinating research domain.


This project became part of the PHRIENDS EU project about developing key components of the next generation of robots designed to physically interact with people. Such machines have to meet the strictest safety standards, yet also to deliver useful performance: this poses new challenges to the design of all components of the robot, including mechanics, control, planning algorithms and supervision systems.

PHRIENDS will create and deliver new actuator concepts and prototypes, new dependable algorithms for supervision and planning, new control algorithms for handling safe human-robot physical interaction and for fault-tolerant behaviour, and will integrate these components in meaningful subsystems for experimental testing, quantitative evaluation and optimization. The project will also contribute significantly to the ongoing effort of international bodies towards the establishment of new standards for collaborative human-robot operation.

PHRIENDS will run until September 2009.


Funded Projects

Call 4 : Open call for PRPs and SIGs

Funding cancelled by EU.

Call 3 (deadline April 2006)

No proposal fitted the criteria well enough to receive funding.

Call 2 (deadline April 2005)

Call 1 (deadline October 2004)

  • ROSE: a Robotics Ontology for the Semantic WEB (RA)
  • RoboEthics (RA)
  • PHRIDOM aimed at charting physical Human-Robot Interaction (pHRI) (PRP)

Other Multicentre Robotics Research Projects

Selected FET 5th Framework Programme robotics projects

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