Glossary

3T (architecture) Hybrid control scheme based on three layers: a low level, behavior based reactive one, a high level deliberative one and a middle one, which sequences behavior triggering depending on the top layer plans.

A* algorithm A heuristic path planning algorithm that reduces the problem com-
plexity by favoring paths close to the shortest one between origin and destination.

Adjustable Autonomy Control function to estimate how much weight the decision
of a given agent has in a cooperative multiagent system at each time instant.


Apraxia neurological disorder characterized by loss of the ability to execute or carry out learned purposeful movements, despite having the desire to and the physical ability to perform the movements.

Automata Derived from the Greek word automatos, ”acting of one’s own will”: a self-moving machine, or one in which the principle of motion is contained within the mechanism itself (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Barthel index. A medical indicator of the physical condition of a person regarding his/her ADL and ranging from 0 to 100.


Casa Agevole. A 60 m2 house built within FSL in Rome, projected by architect Fabrizio Vescovo from SPCA. It has been designed to maximize living space and, at the same time, be compliant with existing standards for assistance.

CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black) Color space where different colors are represented in a 4 dimensional coordinate system where x, y and z axes are assigned to the cyan, magenta, yellow and black contributions, respectively.


Collaborative control Particular case of shared control in which person and machine have a weight in every decision at the same time.

Curvature Magnitude related to how much a curve bends at each point. Corners in a shape would be peaks of its curvature function and straight segments would be zero curvature areas.

Dead reckoning localization technique based on accumulating odometry in time without external correction.


Deliberative (architecture) Control paradigm based on keeping an updated world model, which is processed in order to take a decision via a planning algorithm.

Digital Divide Social gap created by new technology between those who are able to use it and those who can not.

Directness Local effciency parameter that reflects that a direct approximation to a target is the best choice in terms of trajectory length.

Disagreement Local efficiency factor related to the angle difference between the direction proposed by an agent and the direction the vehicle actually takes. It seem to reflect stress and frustration, but also to control diffculties due to the vehicle mechanics and interface.

Divergence Spatial difference between the pro jection of the same point in a pair of stereo images. It is equivalent to the distance between such point and the camera.

EagleEyes GPL interface system developed by Boston College for persons with extreme mobility challenges to operate a computer pointer. It comes in two flavours: gaze based control and skin electrodes.

Eliza One of the first AI programs based on a set of rules that it used to match the left hand side of the users’ input. It received her name from Pygmalion’s Eliza.


Free walking area Direction free of obstacles between robot and its target.


Golem Humanoid entity made of clay and annimated by the sacred word shem placed inside its head by a rabi to accomplish a given task.

Holonomic Vehicle thay can move in any direction from the same point.


Hybrid (architecture) Control paradigm based on combining a deliberative layer for planning and a reactive one for fast action, plus a middle layer to handle their interaction.

Inconsistency Efficiency factor related to the variation of the user’s commands to solve a similar situation. It seems to be related to his/her cognitive skills.

Intervention Level Efficiency factor related to the percentage of time that the user operates the interface during a tra jectory. It is related to his/her collaborative profile.

Joystick Variation Efficiency factor related to the percentage of time that the user changes the joystick position more than a 5%. It is proportional to human workload in controlling the vehicle.

Kouros An Archaic period hellenic statue representing a young male.


Markov Model A stochastic model describing a sequence of possible events in which the probability of each event depends only on the state attained in the previous event.


Mecha A japanese combat robot controlled either by a pilot on board or teleoperated.

Navigation Act of actively moving towards a defined goal in a safe way.

Occupancy grid Geometrical environment representation proposed by Hans Moravec in the 80s in which space is split into a grid where each cell yields a value ranging from 0 to 1 equal to its probability of being occuppied


Optical flow Intensity gradient of a fixed point through a sequence of images. Related to the speed of that point in the field of view


P300 Evoked Potential: Involuntary response of the brain to an input of interest
that appears with a 300 ms delay.

Partial target In navigation, any significant location that the mobile must reach prior to the final goal.

Reactive (architecture) Control paradigm based on associating a sensor instance to a fixed action into a pair. Emergent behaviors are the result of combining several of these pairs.

RGB (Red-Green-Blue) Color space where different colors are represented in a 3 dimensional coordinate system where x, y and z axes are assigned to the red, green and blue contributions, respectively.

Roadmap Motion planning algorithm which solves the problem of determining a path between a starting configuration of the robot and a goal configuration while avoiding collisions. The basic idea behind roadmaps is to take random samples from the configuration space of the robot, testing them for whether they are in the free space, and use a local planner to attempt to connect these configurations to other nearby configurations. The starting and goal configurations are added in, and a graph search algorithm is applied to the resulting graph to determine a path between the starting and goal configurations.


Robot A re-programmable multi-functional manipulator designed to move materials, parts, tools, or specialized devices through variable programmed motions for the performance of a variety of tasks (The Robotics Institute of America (RIA)).

Safeguard mode Shared control method in which the machine only receives control when
a hazardous situation is detected.

Safety Local efficiency factor that reflects that it is better to keep as far from obstacles as possible.

Security zone Area around the robot where there should be no obstacles for safe maneouvering.


Sensor A device that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which
can be read by an observer or by an instrument.


Shared control Control paradigm in which a person and a machine work together according to Adjustable Autonomy principles.

Shifting time window Time interval that always contains the current instant.


Smoothness Local efficiency factor that reflects that it is better to change vehicle headings as less as possible.

Spatial Semantical Hierarchy Hybrid topological-metrical representation of the environment proposed by Benjamin Kuipers and build in a top down way. It relies on building a topological model via node insertion each time a significant input instance is detected. Nodes are annotated with metrical information for dissambiguation after the structure is complete. Unexplored space is not represented.

Standalone mode. Wheelchair operation mode in which control is exerted by a person without assistance.

Subsumption architecture Method of decomposing complicated intelligent behaviour into many simple behaviour modules, which are in turn organized into layers. Each layer implements a particular goal of the agent, and higher layers are increasingly abstract. Each layer’s goal subsumes that of the underlying layers, e.g. the decision to move forward by the eat-food layer takes into account the decision of the lowest obstacle-avoidance layer. As opposed to more traditional AI approaches subsumption architecture uses a bottom-up design.

Teamworking Interaction between several agents, physical and/or sofware, in order
to achieve one or several common goals.


Unimate First commercial robots created by Devol and Engleberger for industrial uses.

Visibility Graph Graph of intervisible locations, typically for a set of points and obstacles in the Euclidean plane. Each node in the graph represents a point location, and each edge represents a visible connection between them so that if the line segment connecting two locations does not pass through any obstacle, an edge is drawn between them in the graph.

Visual Complexity Web site (http://www.visualcomplexity.org ) devoted to visual representation of complex phenomena, large amounts of data, multidimensional spaces ... ranging from the degree of connectivity between Facebook users to musical correlation in current pop.

Voronoi diagram Partitioning of a grid into convex polygons such that each polygon contains exactly one generating point and every point in a given polygon is closer to its generating point than to any other.

Wearable (device) A low invasive, wireless monitorization device that can be used for a continuous time period.

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-Biometrically adapted wheelchair control paper accepted in IEEE Trans. on NSRE :) -New paper on collaborative navigation in hospitals accepted in Autonomous Robots
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