The 2017 Spacecraft Robotics Challenge is sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Tech Engagement Office to strengthen ties between the military, industrial, and academic robotics communities and to promote research and development in the application of unstructured automation and robotic assembly concepts to small satellites. Participating entrants or teams will be using an autonomous robot to assemble a series of simplified satellite assembly steps based solely on computer aided design (CAD) parts and assembly models. Participants will be competing to assemble a series of five challenge levels of increasing difficulty and on the time it takes to complete each assembly. The top participants will receive prizes in the following amounts:

1st place – $6,000

2nd place – $3,000

3rd place – $1,000


IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems

Special Issue on Language Learning in Humans and Robots

2nd Call for Papers

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2017

The publication will be in early 2018

Children acquire language by interacting with their caregivers and others in their social environment. When children start to talk, their sensory-motor intelligence (visual perception, body movement, navigation, object manipulation, auditory perception and articulatory control) is already reaching a high level of competence. Importantly, communication is based on representations and skills that have started to develop much earlier and that are shaped already in first (social) interactions. These interactions are multimodal in nature and vary across contexts. The contexts vary not only across developmental time and situations within individuals, but also between individuals, socio-economic groups and cultures. Continuously, representations become further enriched in ongoing interactions and across different contexts.

Even though there are various efforts in developmental robotics to model communication, the emergence of symbolic communication is still an unsolved problem. We are still lacking convincing theories and implementations that show how cooperation and interaction skills could emerge in long-term experiments with populations of robotic agents or how these skills develop in children. Importantly, the continuous acquisition of knowledge in different contexts and being able to further enrich the underlying representations provides a potential powerful mechanism (cross-situational learning), which is already well recognized in learning in children. Still, we need to know more about how children recognize contexts and how their language learning benefits from different language use varying across contexts.

This special issue aims at surveying the state of the art of the emergence of communication which requires combining and integrating knowledge from diverse disciplines: developmental psychology, robotics, artificial language evolution, complex systems science, computational linguistics and machine learning. Topics relevant to this special issue include, but are not limited to

  1. Psychological experiments on language learning in children
  2. Corpus-based approaches to language acquisition
  3. Language learning models for all stages of acquisition (gesture learning, early lexicon and grammar)
  4. Representations for language learning (sensorimotor schemas, constructions, neural networks, mirror neurons)
  5. Cognitive architectures and strategies for language learning
  6. Cross-situational learning
  7. Language acquisition and development of self-awareness
  8. Role of context in language learning
  9. Role of embodiment in language learning
  10. Role of multimodality (gesture, gaze etc) in language learning
  11. Role of social interaction and joint attention
  12. Co-development of skills, e.g. motor and language skills
  13. Integration of natural language grounding into perception-action cycles
  14. Connection with cultural and biological evolution of language


The Human Brain Project (HBP) aims to bring a large number of users to the HBP-Joint Platform to make it even more attractive for the external science community and to foster new collaborations across the full width of the HBP’s Subprojects (including Neurorobotics). To achieve this, a substantial amount of funding is available in the next two-year funding period for partner organisations to help contribute.

The HBP is asking potential new Partners to submit proposals that will directly contribute to the development of the HBP Platforms and increase the scope of their application, in terms of neuroscience and clinical research. The selected Partners will become full Partners in the HBP Consortium. The projects will run from April 2018 to March 2020. Please note that for some of the CEoIs, current Partners of the HBP Consortium are explicitly invited to write a proposal with new Partners and apply together.

Priv.-Doz. Dr. Florian Roehrbein

Program Director HBP Neurorobotics



We would like to announce the availability of a MATLAB toolbox, the KUKA Sunrise toolbox (KST), to interface KUKA Sunrise.



In collaboration with the IEEE “Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems” journal, we are launching a special issue on Language Learning in Humans and Robots. We encourage all interested researchers to submit their papers.


IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems

Special Issue on Language Learning in Humans and Robots

2nd Call for Papers

August 2017 – Deadline for manuscript submissions

The publication will be in early 2018.



Summer school on


The goal of this summer school is to teach state-of-the-art methods by going beyond bio-inspired systems, which are focused on developing technology, to bio-hybrid systems, where technology resides in symbiosis with living systems. These bio-hybrid systems can make the best use of the properties of both components: biological and technological. For this, both systems and their interactions need to be understood and modelled in a more detailed way than it would be necessary for classical bio-inspired systems. During this summer school, examples will come from hybrid systems involving robots and bees, fish and plants. The school will consist of four main parts: preparation, lectures, practicals, and a reporting for students who would like to submit the result of their practical work for evaluation.


Deadline: 26th of July 2017

Notification of acceptance: 31st of July 2017