Cognitive science is the study of cognitive processes in humans and animals and can be thought of as those processes which make humans and animals intelligent.
By extension Cognitive Science also covers the study of mechanisms that allow machines to mimic the processes or behaviour of intelligent life.
At RUR our interest in Cognitive Science is twofold. First we are interested in developing robots that exhibit behaviours that would typically be thought of as intelligent. In this we are not seeking to develop autonomous robot ‘individuals’ but rather to develop capabilities that make our systems more robust, safer and easier to control. These can range from ‘simple’ collision avoidance systems through to complete task level schema (e.g. “drill a hole at this point”).
Our second interest in Cognitive Science in the way the operator interacts with the robot. This area covers the skills and abilities the operator needs, the layout of the controls and information (and how that facilitates information transfer and control) and the nature of the interaction (i.e. whether the machine, operator or both are controlling a specific part of the operation, where relevant information exists and how information is transferred when needed). For complex, or hazardous, applications this often overlooked aspect of robot systems can be crucial to the safe and effective operation of the process.