Call for Proposals

Quori Award Program

A Modular Robot Platform for Enabling Computing Research in
Socially Intelligent Human-Robot Interaction

Letter of Intent Due: Friday, October 26, 2018

Final Proposal Due: Friday, December 7, 2018

Award Decision: January 2018

Award Disbursement: Spring 2019

All deadlines end at 11:59pm Anywhere in the USA (UTC-10)

This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under
Collaborative Grant No. CNS-1513275 and CNS-1513108.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents        2

1 Overview        3

1.1 Project Vision        3

1.2 Quori Robot Platform        4

1.3 Quori Award Program Description        4

1.4 Eligibility        4

1.5 About the Quori Development Team        4

2 Quori Participation and Award Program        5

2.1 Scope        5

2.2 Activities and Requirements        5

2.3 Evaluation        5

2.4 Technical Support        5

3 Eligibility        6

4 Proposal Selection        7

4.1 Proposal Selection Considerations        7

4.2 Selection Committee and Decisions        7

5 Important Dates        8

6 Guidelines for Submission        9

6.1 Letters of Intent        9

6.2 Research Proposal Submission Requirements        9

6.2.1 Cover Letter        9

6.2.2 Table of Contents        9

6.2.3 Executive Summary        9

6.2.4 Project Description        9

6.2.5 Researcher Profiles        10

6.2.6 Organization Profile        10

6.3 Queries        11

6.4 Limitations        11

Appendix        12

Appendix 1: Sample Letter of Intent        12

Appendix 2: Researcher Profile Template        13

Sample Researcher Profile:        14

1 Overview

We invite proposals from research organizations interested in using Quori (Fig 1), a novel, affordable, socially interactive robot platform designed for enabling non-contact human-robot interaction (HRI) research in lab and “in the wild” experimental settings.

Fig 1: Quori, an expressive humanoid robot designed for non-contact human-robot interaction research.

Quori’s hardware and integrated software were developed collaboratively between the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Southern California, and Semio, with the support of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Computing Research Infrastructure (CRI) grant.   As part of that grant deliverables, eight (8) Quori robot platforms will be awarded and shipped to US research organizations that will make rigorous and creative use of the robot for existing or planned computing and robotics projects.

By providing research organizations with the Quori robot platform, the team and the NSF grant aim to enable computing researchers to develop and test algorithms, as well as conduct statistically significant user studies by deploying systems in the real world and collecting user data to inform further computing research in human-robot interaction (HRI).

1.1 Project Vision

This project and the hardware and software it produced are a result of an ongoing conversation with researchers in the computing community and a reflection of their expressed needs. This project is distributing novel, affordable, modular robot hardware and accompanying software and tools for enabling non-contact human-robot interaction research. Our goal is to increase access to low-cost, high-quality robot hardware and software to researchers, so that computing advances can be applied to physical systems and evaluated in real-world environments.

1.2 Quori Robot Platform

The following design of Quori is a result of the computing community input over three years of surveys and workshops. Quori is a low-cost, socially interactive robot platform comprised of an upper-body humanoid with a rear-projection head/face and two gesturing arms mounted atop an omnidirectional mobile base, standing at approximately 1.4 meters tall. Sensors are integrated to provide useful data for recognizing and making decisions about interactions with both the environment and human users. The robot is designed for non-contact HRI tasks, such as person-tracking, performing expressive arm gestures, and displaying expressive facial features.  The hardware has an extensible yet simple software architecture and a standard mechanical and electrical interface for actuated and passive hardware elements. The software design involves novel general algorithms and robust code bases that enable the hardware platform to operate “out of the box” with a set of social behavior primitives enabling computing researchers to focus on their areas of interest without having to develop low-level robot control algorithms and code.

1.3 Quori Award Program Description

Eight (8) Quori robots will be awarded in this program. Each of the robots will be given at no cost to research organizations that effectively propose projects that will use the robots tools to further currently planned or presently funded scientific research. Awarded researchers/teams will provide feedback that can be shared with the community to help improve hardware and software design in HRI. Specifically, the Quori user community will fill out an annual survey for three (3) years after the Quori robot platform is received, in order to help to assess the functionality, robustness, and usefulness of all aspects of the developed hardware and software.

1.4 Eligibility

United States research organizations located in the US are eligible to apply for the Quori Award Program. Additional criteria are discussed in Section 3, Eligibility.

1.5 About the Quori Development Team

The Quori Team is a collaboration between the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Modlab and the University of California (USC) Interaction Lab. USC and UPenn are joined by Semio, a social robotics software company. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Computing Research Infrastructure (CRI) Collaborative grant CNS-1513275 and CNS-1513108.

Information about the contributors can be found at:

2 Quori Participation and Award Program

The Quori Team is seeking proposals that promise to use Quori to develop useful results, software, and hardware for the HRI community.

2.1 Scope

Each research institution that is selected will receive the following at no charge:

  • A complete Quori robot platform (shipped within the US) with all physical components necessary to begin basic research with the robot
  • Hardware and software support as outlined in 2.4 Technical Support

2.2 Activities and Requirements

Each selected research institution will commit to:  

  • Sign an agreement with the University of Pennsylvania that will include details of material transfer, liability, and reporting, among other items.
  • Acknowledge the Quori Team when publishing scholarly papers that report on work done with the Quori platform by including a note mentioning that the parts of the Quori platform used in the work were received by the Quori team and made possible via Grants No. CNS-1513275 and CNS-1513108.
  • Inform the Quori Team after publication of such papers.

2.3 Evaluation

The Quori Team is interested in assessing the success of Quori. Consequently, the receiving research teams will fill out an annual survey for three (3) years after the Quori robot platform is deployed to assess the functionality, robustness, and usefulness of all aspects of the developed hardware and software.

2.4 Technical Support

Quori’s modular architecture is intended to enable users to easily maintain and upgrade the hardware without need for custom maintenance or support personnel. Support for each robot will be available for up to one (1) year from its delivery. All awarded research teams are invited to send personnel to the University of Pennsylvania to receive hardware training and support, and/or to Semio for software training and support. Semio software and support will be available under free for fair use terms to non-commercial users.

3 Eligibility

Eligible applicants, which must be lead by university faculty, include university faculty, staff scientists, researchers, engineers, and PhD students within academic institutions in the United States. Collaborations with non-profit or for-profit organizations are welcome, but proposals must be led by a faculty member or senior researcher at an academic institution.  The proposing individual or teams must be engaged in scientific research that will advance the field of computing and will involve activities that explore high-impact applications for computing consistent with NSF’s broad goals.  Only one Quori robot will be awarded per research institution; teams within academic institutions, as well as across various institutions and disciplines are encouraged to collaborate.   Team diversity along many dimensions is encouraged.

4 Proposal Selection

4.1 Proposal Selection Considerations

Proposals should describe specific computing research projects that will use the robot platform, and the associated project milestones for a 3-year period. 

All proposals will be reviewed and evaluated in their entirety and relative to all other submitted proposals.  The following categories and associated criteria will be used in the review process:



Proposed research project

  • Potential for scientific breakthroughs
  • Planned contribution

Experience of the team and organization

  • Robotics and other relevant technical history
  • Biographies of the team

Resources and utilization

  • Funding
  • Facilities
  • Planned utilization of the robot
  • Use of the robot across projects

4.2 Selection Committee and Decisions

The proposals will be evaluated by the Quori Team who may also engage a group of non-conflicted senior computing researchers to aid in the proposal review process; independent reviewers may also be included. Every effort will be made to distribute the platforms to a diverse set of US institutions and researchers. The Quori Team, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to select all, some, or none of the proposals received in response to this Call for Proposals, and to make awards without providing explanation for those decisions.

5 Important Dates


Due Dates 

11:59pm Anywhere in the USA (UTC-10)

Call for Proposal Release

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Deadline for intent to respond

Friday, October 26th, 2018

Deadline for submission

Friday, December 7, 2018

Notification of selection begins

January 2018

Delivery of the Quori robot platform will begin after award notifications, in Spring 2019. See Section 2.4, Technical Support, for an additional method of receiving the platform.

6 Guidelines for Submission

Proposals must be in English, formatted using single-spacing with at least 1-inch margins on all sides. Proposals must use legible, proportional fonts with easy-to-read font size (no less than 11 point). All documents must be submitted in a single PDF file. Page limits are defined by section, below. Proposals over any of the page limits will not be reviewed.

6.1 Letters of Intent

We request that proposing researchers/teams submit a letter indicating interest and intent to submit a proposal, by Friday, October 26th, 2018. The letter should be on official institutional letterhead, emailed to, and should include: 1) a brief description of the project; 2) who will be involved; and 3) project keywords, as illustrated in Appendix 1.

Letters of intent will be used by the Quori Team to prepare resources for reviewing proposals. No feedback will be provided in response to the letters.  

6.2 Research Proposal Submission Requirements

Proposals are due no later than 11:59pm Anywhere in the USA (UTC-10) on Friday, December 7th 2018. Proposals should describe specific computing research projects that will use the robot platform, and the associated project milestones for a 3-year period. A complete proposal must include:

  • Cover Letter
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary
  • Project Description
  • Researcher Profiles
  • Organization Profile
  • Optional

6.2.1 Cover Letter

A cover or transmittal letter is required and can act as a title or cover page.

6.2.2 Table of Contents

A table of contents for the proposal is required.

6.2.3 Executive Summary

The executive summary briefly summarizes the project(s), the team members, and the research facilities (not to exceed one (1) page).

6.2.4 Project Description

Proposing teams may include one or more projects in the proposal. Project summaries should cover current research initiatives and the code libraries coming out of those initiatives.

If a proposal includes multiple projects, each should be written as a separate project description. There is no specific limit to the number of proposed projects, but this section must not exceed six (6) pages total, and each project description should contain the following:

  1.  Project Identification:
  1. Project title and description
  2. Name of principal/lead investigator
  3. Name of co-principal/lead investigators (if applicable)
  4. Name of university/institution (in the event of multiple organizations, include all names)
  5. Name of department(s)
  6. Principal/lead investigator's email address
  1.  Project Summary/Summaries for each project:
  1. Describe the goals of the project and how they will be met through using the Quori platform.
  2. Describe breakthroughs you hope to achieve, and the impact those breakthroughs would have on the research community, industry, and the world.
  3. Links to additional project information and videos.
  1.  Funding
  1. Explain what existing and/or expected funding resources will be committed to this project, including start and end dates and funding sources/agency(ies).

6.2.5 Researcher Profiles

Provide a profile for each researcher (principal/lead investigator, co-principal investigators, graduate students, undergraduate students, staff researchers, other key personnel, etc.) who will be involved in the project(s) presented in this proposal. A template with required information is provided in Appendix 1. Researcher profiles must not exceed one (1) page per researcher.

6.2.6 Organization Profile

The Organization Profile should be no longer than two (2) pages, and should contain the following:

  1. Organization Overview contains information on where the Quori will be located:
  1. Name of university/institution
  2. Name of department
  3. Physical address and phone number (for Quori delivery)
  4. Primary administrative contact name and email address
  1. Facilities and Infrastructure describes your facilities and infrastructure. Include:
  1. Where will Quori be physically located?
  2. What computing resources will be applied to the proposed project(s)? What is their makeup (laptops, workstations, clusters) and operating system?
  3. What types of supporting infrastructures and prototype environments are available to the proposed work (e.g., tele-operation setup, motion capture system, etc.)?
  4. What other robots are available to the proposed project(s)?
  5. What is the site’s ability to fix hardware, if required?
  6. If multiple projects are proposed, what dedicated spaces will be available to people across all projects described in Section 6.2.6, Project Description, and how will Quori use be coordinated across these projects?

6.3 Queries

Any questions and requests for clarification or additional information should be submitted electronically to  In fairness to all, questions and answers will be posted on

6.4 Limitations

While proposals will not be distributed publicly, they also should not considered private, so proposals should not include information that authors are not authorized to distribute, such as proprietary, confidential, or classified information. 

Only one robot will be awarded to any one institution.

This Call for Proposals (CFP) does not offer compensation to individuals or organizations preparing a proposal in response to the CFP, nor does it offer funds to any individuals or organizations for participation in a proposal or project.


Appendix 1: Sample Letter of Intent

[Institution Name]

[Institution Address 1]

[Institution Address 2]

[Institution Address 3]


Dear Qouri Team:

This letter shall act as confirmation that we intend to respond to the Quori Team Call for Proposals dated October 8th, 2018

[Insert “Title/Name of principal investigator(s)”]

[Insert “Institution Name”]

[Insert “Email address”]

We intend to submit a proposal entitled [Insert “Proposal Title”].

The following keywords relate to our intended proposal

[Insert “keywords”]

[Give a descriptive summary of the projects and who will be involved]

This letter of intent shall not be binding on the contributing individual(s) or organization(s). The material in this document is subject to change in form and content after further study. The undersigned reserve(s) the right to add, amend or withdraw material contained herein.


[Name & Title]

Appendix 2: Researcher Profile Template

Not to exceed one (1) page per researcher. Please find a Researcher Profile sample on the following page.

[Insert “Full Name”]

[Insert “Current Title”]

[Insert “Education”]

[Insert “Describe relevant experience.”]

[Insert “List up to five relevant publications.”]

Sample Researcher Profile:

Jane Doe

PhD Student

University XYZ

M.S., Computer Science

B.S., Mathematics

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Integer vitae volutpat nibh [1]. Duis feugiat nisl felis, non fermentum tellus tincidunt quis. Pellentesque id lobortis turpis, sed pellentesque tortor. Mauris sit amet pretium purus [2, 3]. Quisque cursus nulla et diam convallis, at scelerisque velit pulvinar. Donec quis gravida risus. Cras cursus ex nulla, eget sodales urna lacinia quis. Cras finibus, ipsum eget semper ultricies, orci nisi efficitur arcu, sed aliquet ex augue non tortor. Nulla at sapien ac risus viverra lobortis a id lacus. Proin sagittis augue varius ultrices ultrices. Praesent pretium at diam eu euismod.

Aliquam scelerisque ultricies odio id pulvinar [4]. Proin et cursus ipsum, at ullamcorper urna. Suspendisse pretium ipsum vitae velit bibendum hendrerit. Donec scelerisque auctor ultricies. Sed dui leo, ultrices nec leo at, pellentesque vehicula lorem. Mauris eget felis ac ligula hendrerit gravida sit amet sed mauris [5]. Etiam consequat erat est, eget sodales justo lobortis in. Nam sodales risus a eros tristique, nec mattis sapien gravida. Donec congue leo eget ligula scelerisque elementum. Donec viverra, leo nec faucibus eleifend, eros nulla tincidunt ante, sit amet finibus tellus ex et nibh. In interdum placerat lobortis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.

[1] Doe, J. & Prince, D. (2016) "Donec Vitae Arcu At Metus Convallis Dapibus", in Autonomous Robots, pp. 1-13.

[2] Doe, J., Allen, B., & Prince, D. (2015) "Nullam Faucibus Mauris Ut Metus Elementum: Vel Placerat Tortor Efficitur", in the Proceedings of The 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2015), Hamburg, Germany, September-October 2015, pp. 5984-5991.

[3] Doe, J. & Prince, D. (2015) "Suspendisse Facilisis Velit Metus, Quis Venenatis Leo Gravida Sed", in the 2015 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2015) Workshop on Machine Learning for Social Robotics, Seattle, Washington, May 2015.

[4] Doe, J. & Queen, O. (2014) "Duis Porta Bibendum Nunc Nec Maximus", in the Technical Report of The 2014 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Fall Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and Human-Robot Interaction (AI-HRI), Arlington, Virginia, November 2014.

[5] Wayne, B., Kent, C., Doe, J., & Prince, D. (2012) "Duis Risus Nibh, Placerat Ut Sem Et, Lobortis Condimentum Lacus", in the Paladyn Journal of Behavioral Robotics: Special Issue on Assistive and Rehabilitation Robotics, Volume 2, Issue 4, Article 7, pp. 218-227.