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Robotics Spin-off Receives FNR’s First Award for Innovation

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Veröffentlicht am Freitag, den 27. Oktober 2017

Dr. Pouyan Ziafati, CEO of SnT social robotics spin-off LuxAI, has become the first recipient of the FNR’s Outstanding Research-Driven Innovation award.

The award recognizes researchers who have endeavored to turn publicly funded research into innovations of a commercial or social nature. It was presented at the FNR’s 2017 Awards Ceremony on Friday 27 October.
LuxAI develops and builds social robots - robots designed to interact with people - for use in the educational and health systems. The robots are currently used for emotional therapy for children with autism, cognitive therapy with the elderly and post-stroke rehabilitation. Other potential applications include foreign language and science teaching with children. The FNR’s Proof of Concept programme allowed LuxAI to build their very first prototype in 2015.

"We are very honoured to receive this award as it recognizes in particular our efforts to improve people’s lives. We’d like to thank the FNR in general, and specifically Dr. Andreea Monnat, for their superb Proof-of-Concept Programme. Their support really enabled us to take this path with our research."

QTrobot speaks at Luxembourg's Autism Awareness day 2017 

The 'AI' in LuxAI stands for Artificial Intelligence. “Robots that are supposed to interact with humans have to process a great deal of information very quickly, and adapt their behaviours according to the interaction,” says Ziafati, who wrote his doctoral thesis on artificial intelligence and robotics at the SnT. “Our robot is the first social robot to come out of Luxembourg.”

Ziafati and LuxAI’s co-founder and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Aida Nazariklorram have already received numerous prizes for the development of their robot, which they have called ‘QT’. The key to their success is that they have made the technology accessible to health and education specialists on a mass scale. “Practitioners who want to teach a robot how to train stroke patients, for example, can’t learn their way into programming,” says Ziafati. “They need an interface through which they can programme the robot intuitively and naturally”. LuxAI has therefore developed an easy-to-use programme based on the Android platform commonly used for smartphones. “With this interface, non-IT-experts have been able to program our robots for their specific purposes within 20 minutes. Our software lets anyone do it.”

Dr. Marc Lemmer, Head of SnT’s Technology Transfer Office, is delighted with LuxAI’s success. “It has been a pleasure to see the development of their business. At SnT we put a lot of emphasis on turning research results into socially beneficial applications, and this is a perfect example. We aim to give our scientists the opportunity to be entrepreneurs as well as researchers, and the FNR plays a big role in helping us support them in taking this step.”