Carme Torras gets the prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for her project CLOTHILDE
The European Research Council (ERC) grants are aimed at supporting the best researchers in the search for excellence in science, a basic pillar of the Horizon 2020 European research and innovation funding program. ERC Advanced Grants provide long term funding for established, leading principal investigators that pursue ground-breaking high-risk projects.
The CLOTHILDE project
CLOTHILDE, Cloth manipulation learning from demonstrations, the project presented by Professor Torras, will receive 2.5 million euros for a period of 5 years to develop a theory of robotic manipulation of textiles. The robots to be used will learn manipulation skills through demonstrations performed by non-expert users, which will be coded using representations of computational topology and then improved through automatic learning techniques. Some of the prototype applications to be developed include recognizing and folding clothes, putting a cover on a mattress or car seat and helping the elderly and disabled to get dressed.
Why research with textile objects?
Textile objects pervade human environments and their versatile manipulation by robots would open a whole range of possibilities, from the increase of autonomy for the elderly or disabled people, to the autonomous cleaning and hospital logistics, or new automation in the handling of garments in the textile sector.
Although there are effective procedures for the robotic handling of rigid objects and the virtual representation of deformable objects, the manipulation of textiles is still difficult to achieve due to the large number of degrees of freedom involved in the deformations of non-rigid objects and the uncertainties in perception and action. Therefore, CLOTHILDE is presented as a pioneering, necessary and innovative project in this field of robotics.
Prof. Carme Torras
Dr. Torras is an expert in robotics and artificial intelligence. She is the leader of the Perception and Manipulation research group at the Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial in Barcelona, a joint research center of the Spanish National Research Council and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Her group carries out research at the frontier between robotics and artificial intelligence, specifically in machine learning, geometric reasoning, computer vision and robot motion planning.
Professor Torras, a recipient of the Narcís Monturiol Medal, is Fellow of the European Society for Artificial Intelligence; Member of the Academia Europaea; the Institut d'Estudis Catalans; the Reial Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona; and of the recently constituted Scientific and Technical Committee of the Agencia Estatal de Investigación in Spain, the main advisory body of this organization.