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NIFTi is about human-robot cooperation. About teams of robots and humans doing tasks together, interacting together to try and reach a shared goal. NIFTi looks at how the robot could bear the human in mind. Literally. When determining what to do or say next in human-robot interaction; when, and how. NIFTi puts the human factor into cognitive robots, and human-robot team interaction in particular.   Each year, NIFTi evaluates its systems together with several USAR organizations. Rescue personnel teams up with NIFTi robots to carry out realistic missions, in real-life training areas. 

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C. HG Horsch, N. JJM Smets, M. A Neerincx, and R. Cuijpers (2013)

Revealing unexpected eff ects of rescue robots' team-membership in a virtual environment

In: Proceedings of the 10th International ISCRAM Conference.

In urban search and rescue (USAR) situations resources are limited and workload is high. Robots that act as team players instead of tools could help in these situations. A Virtual Reality (VR) experiment was set up to test if team performance of a human-robot team increases when the robot act as such a team player. Three robot settings were tested ranging from the robot as a tool to the robot as a team player. Unexpectedly, team performance seemed to be the best for the tool condition. Two side-effects of increasing robotÂ’s teammembership could explain this result: mental workload increased for the humans who had to work with the team-playing robot, whereas the tendency to share information was reduced between these humans. Future research should, thus, focus on team-memberships that improve communication and reduce cognitive workload.
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