29th International Symposium on Artificial Life and Robotics
AROB 29th 2024
9th International Symposium on BioComplexity
7th International Symposium on Swarm Behavior and Bio-Inspired Robotics
January 24-26, 2024
B-Con PLAZA, Beppu, JAPAN and ONLINE (Zoom)

Plenary Speakers

Giulio Sandini

Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences – Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia – Genova - Italia

Anthropomorphic Cognition and Artificial Life

The use mathematical models to describe human perceptual and motor functions has a very long and successful history while the design and implementation of embodied artificial systems to investigate human sensorimotor and cognitive abilities is a relatively recent endeavour still struggling, to some extent, to go beyond a superficial, technology-driven, biomimetic approach. Besides its intrinsic scientific and engineering value in our quest to study the unity of body and mind in artificial embodied systems, the view emerging is on the “body side” the implementation of very athletic robots and on the “mind-side” the implementation of a fragmented collection of individual functional abilities and cognitive skills missing the opportunity to exploit the origin and timeframe of human adaptive abilities stemming from the mind-body unity and the role and complementary contribution of evolutionary, epigenetic, developmental and learning processes.

Stemming from these considerations the need of a more convergent approach is emerging conceptually based on a reference cognitive architecture. Along this line I will focus my presentation on how to exploit the use of robots to advance our knowledge of the mechanisms at the basis of human-human interaction and in particular in our ability to anticipate our own actions and those of others. I will argue that robots as physical models of biological systems are effective experimental platforms to investigate aspects of social interactions and can be exploited to investigate kinematic and dynamic signatures of behaviour such as biological motion and motor contagion, as well as cognitive skills such as intention reading, turn taking, vitality forms and emotions . All essential ingredients of anthropomorphic cognition and artificial life.


Giulio Sandini is a Founding Director of the Italian Institute of Technology where in 2006 he established the department of Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences. As a research fellow and Assistant Professor at the Scuola Normale in Pisa and Visiting Researcher at the Neurology Department of the Harvard Medical School he investigated visual perception and sensorimotor coordination in humans and technologies for Brain Activity Mapping in children with learning disabilities. In 1996 he was Visiting Scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab of MIT.

As a professor of bioengineering at the University of Genova in 1990 he founded the LIRA-Lab (Laboratory for Integrated Advanced Robotics) which was to become the birthplace of a family of humanoid robots up to the “open sources” iCub platform which has later become a reference humanoid platform of the Italian Institute of Technology and adopted by more than 40 research centers in the word to study and share results on different aspects of cognitive robotics.

Giulio Sandini research activity is characterized by an engineering approach to the study of natural intelligent systems with a focus on the design and implementation of artificial systems to investigate the development of human perceptual, motor and cognitive abilities (and viceversa).

Toru Ohira

Graduate School of Mathematics, Nagoya University, Japan

Collective behaviors emerging from chases and escapes

"Chases and Escapes" is a traditional mathematical problem. Recently, we proposed a simple extended model where one group chases another group, called "Group Chase and Escape". This extension connects the traditional problem with current interests in collective motion of animals, insects, and cars. In this presentation, I will introduce our basic model and discuss its rather complex emergent behaviors.

Each chaser approaches its nearest escapee, while each escapee steps away from its nearest chaser. Although there is no communication within each group, aggregate formations are observed. I will discuss how these behaviors appear as a function of parameters, such as densities.

Furthermore, we have considered different expansions of this basic model. Firstly, we introduced a fluctuation where players now make errors in taking their step directions with some probability. We found that some level of fluctuations works better for more effective catching.

Secondly, we introduced a delay in the reaction of chasers in catching a target. Distance-dependent reaction delay can cause quite complex behaviors. We will also provide an overview of various extensions of the model by other groups and recent developments.


Toru Ohira is currently a vice dean and professor at the Graduate School of Mathematics at Nagoya University. He graduated from Hamilton College, New York in 1986, and after a year at Christ's College, Cambridge University, he moved on to the University of Chicago for his Ph.D. studies. After receiving his Ph.D. in Physics in 1993, Toru Ohira worked for a private company, as well as teaching basic mathematics courses for the School of Engineering at the University of Tokyo. Toru Ohira joined Nagoya University as a professor of mathematics in 2012.

Toru Ohira has been working on three topics: stochastic delayed feedback dynamics, the problem of pursuit and evasion from singles to groups, and the foundation of quantum mechanics. In this talk, he will discuss various aspects of pursuit and evasion with a focus on emerging collective behaviors.


Nagoya University and Waseda University, Japan

AI Robots and Moon Shot Program

There are many ways to make research and development of intelligent robotic systems. I have been working on the Multi-scale robotics systems for many years, based on the Cellular Robotics System, which is the basic concept of the emergence of intelligence in the multi-scale way from Organizational Level, Distributed robotics to Biological Cell engineering and Nano-robotics. It consists of many elements how the system can be structured from the individual to the group/society levels in analogy with the biological system.

Focusing on the coevolution and self organization capabilities, I will show a new initiative on AI and Robot, one of the Moon Shot Programs started by Japanese Government, since 2020. Based on the Society 5.0, it is a new and challenging program aiming at the AI robotic system in 2050. I will introduce some of the projects in this program for realization of the Society 5.0 by back-casting technologies from the 2050 to the current ones. Then I will show the progress and current status of several projects of the Program.


Toshio Fukuda is Professor Emeritus of Nagoya University and University Professor Waseda University. He is mainly engaging in the research fields of intelligent robotic system, micro and nano robotics, bio-robotic system and industry applications in robotics and automation. He was the President of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (1998-1999), and IEEE President (2020). He was Editor-in-Chief of IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatronics (2000-2002). He was chairs of many conferences, such as the Founding General Chair of IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS, 1988), International Symposium on Micro/Nano Mechatronics and human Science(MHS, 1989), IEEE Conference on Advanced robots and Social Impact(2005), System Integration International(2008), IEEE Conference on Cyborg and Bionic Systems (CBS, 2017), IEEE Conference on Intelligence and Safety of Robots (ISR, 2018). He has received many awards such as IEEE Robotics and Automation Pioneer Award (2004), IEEE Robotics and Automation Technical Field Award (2010), Medal of Honor on Purple Ribbon (2015), The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon (2022). IEEE Fellow (1995), SICE Fellow (1995), JSME Fellow (2002), RSJ Fellow (2004), VRSJ Fellow (2011), member of the Japan Academy of Engineering (2013).

Allison M. Okamura

Stanford University, USA

Soft Robots for Humanity

Traditional robotic manipulators are constructed from rigid links and localized joints, which enables large forces and workspaces but creates challenges for safe and comfortable interaction with the human body. In contrast, many soft robots have a volumetric form factor and continuous bending that allows them to mechanically adapt to their environment — but these same mechanical properties can hinder forceful interactions required for physical assistance and feedback to humans. This talk will examine robotic systems and haptic devices that achieve the best of both worlds by leveraging softness and rigidity to enable novel shape control, generate significant interaction forces, and provide a compliant interface to the human body.


Allison M. Okamura is the Richard W. Weiland Professor of Engineering at Stanford University in the mechanical engineering department, with a courtesy appointment in computer science. She received the BS degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1994, and the MS and PhD degrees from Stanford University in 1996 and 2000, respectively, all in mechanical engineering. She is currently Director of Graduate Studies for her department, a Deputy Director of the Wu Tsai Stanford Neurosciences Institute, and PI of the Collaborative Haptics and Robotics in Medicine (CHARM) Lab (http://charm.stanford.edu). Her awards include the 2020 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Technical Achievement Award, 2019 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Distinguished Service Award, and 2016 Duca Family University Fellow in Undergraduate Education. She is an IEEE Fellow. Her recent research service includes co-general chair of the 2022 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, editor-in-chief of the journal IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, and associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Haptics. Her academic interests include haptics, teleoperation, virtual environments and simulators, medical robotics, soft robotics, human sensorimotor control and rehabilitation, and education. Outside academia, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, running, and playing ice hockey.

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