Synthetic, Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS)


The “Synthetic Perceptive, Emotive and Cognitive Systems (SPECS)” group ( is a multidisciplinary research group interested in understanding the neuronal, psychological and behavioural principles underlying perception, emotion and cognition. 

SPECS mission is to understand mind, brain and behaviour through constructing synthetic perceptive, emotive and cognitive systems.

SPECS’s interdisciplinary research has a long-standing tradition in the domains of computational neuroscience, cognitive science and interactive systems with a focus on neuro-technologies, robotics and AI, combining real word systems such as large-scale interactive systems, robots and virtual reality systems to understand build and repair the brain and the body.

Following a deductive medicine, approach SPECS is investigating a range of brain pathologies where medical interventions are explicit validations of scientific predictions.

The cornerstone of SPECS’s work on the biological principles underlying perception, cognition and behaviour is provided by the Distributed Adaptive Control (DAC) architecture. The DAC architecture is built on a series of neuronal models of learning and problem solving, developed over the last 15 years and constitutes an evolving candidate theory of general intelligence and cognition. DAC has become a standard in the field of artificial intelligence and behavior based robotics. DAC can account for aspects of human cognition that are usually only addressed with top-down symbolic models.

SPECS is also involved in the following activities:

  • Master program: Cognitive Systems and Interactive Media at UPF
  • Summer school: Barcelona Cognition Brain and Technology
  • Conference: LIVING MACHINES conference
  • Summer courses:  NEURO-ROBOTICS for children (BIYSC)
  • Dissemination: Outreach Activities  Escolab –  Semana Cerebro –  Festa de la Ciencia  – Bojos…


TECSAM · Xarxa d’Innovació de Noves Tecnologies en Salut MentalAGAURAnna Mura
RGS@HOME Scaling ICT based neurorehabilitation to personalized 24/7 home care (2019-2021)EIT HealthAnna Mura
VirtualBrainCloud Personalized Recommendations for Neurodegenerative Disease (2018-2022)European Comission Digital transformation in Health and CareAnna Mura
HR-Recycler Hybrid Human-Robot RECYcling plant for electriCal and eLEctRonic equipment (2018-2022)European Comission Transforming European IndustryAnna Mura
iNavigate Brain-inspired technologies for intelligent navigation and mobility (2019-2023)European Comission Marie CurieAnna Mura
ReHyb Rehabilitation based on Hybrid neuroprosthesis (2020-2023)European ComissionAnna Mura

EIT Health is supported by EIT, a body of the European Union

cRGS Cognitive Rehabilitation Gamming System (cRGS): a novel Virtual Reality-based system for the conjunctive training of stroke-derived cognitive impairments (2019-2021)European Comission ERC – PoCAnna Mura
RGS@HOME The RGS@home project: Scaling ICT based neurorehabilitation to personalized 24/7 home care (2019-2021)EIT Health, European Institute of Technology (EIT) Anna Mura
ANITA Advanced tools for fighting oNline Illegal TrAfficking (2018-2021)European Comission Research and Innovation actionAnna Mura
HBP Education Activity (2020)European Comission FET FlashipsAnna Mura
DAC-CHM Distributed Adaptive Control of Consciousness in Humans and Machines (2017-2020)MINECO
Retos investigación: Proyectos I+D
Anna Mura
socSMCs Socialising Sensori-Motor Contingencies (2017-2020)European Comission FET ProactiveAnna Mura
CDAC  The role of consciousness in adaptive behavior: A combined empirical, computational and robot-based approach (2014-2020)ERC Advanced GrantAnna Mura
iC-ACCESS  Accessing Campscapes: Inclusive Strategies for Using European Conflicted Heritage (2016-2019)HERA Joint Research Programme Uses of the Past, REFLECTIVE-1-2014Anna Mura
socSMCs  Socialising Sensori-Motor Contingencies (2015-2018)Future Emerging Technologies (FET), H2020Anna Mura
WYSIWYD  What You Say Is What You Did (2014-2017)FP7-ICT-2013-10, grant agreement n° 612139Anna Mura
EASEL  Expressive Agents for Symbiotic Education and Learning (2013-2017)FP7-ICT-2013-10, grant agreement n° 611971Anna Mura
CSNII  Convergent Science Network of Biomimetics and Neurotechnology (2013-2016)FP7-ICT-601167Anna Mura
INSOCO (2015-2018) Anna Mura
SANaR Smart Autonomous Neuro-Rehabilitation SystemMINECO, Retos Investigación 2013Anna Mura
TECNIO (2016-2019)Generalitat of CataloniaAnna Mura


(See full publication list in ORCID)


  • EXperience Induction Machine (XIM), an immersive room equipped with a number of sensors and effectors that have been constructed to conduct experiments in mixed-reality.
  • Robotics lab
  • Codi-Bot, the musical robot that teaches you how to program
  • iqr: simulator for large-scale neural systems
  • Collective machine cognition: Autonomous dynamic mapping and planning using a hybrid team of aerial and ground-based robots
  • Humanoid robots: iCub
  • Quality of Life Technologies


In 2014, SPECS created the spin-off company “Eodyne“.

  • Terrence W. Deacon
    UC Berkeley, US
  • Andreas K. Engel 
    Neurophysiology, UKE, Hamburg, DE
  • Karl Friston
     University College London, UK
  • Bill S Hansson
    Max Planck Instit., DE
  • Jonatas Manzolli
    Unicamp Univ., Brazil
  • Tony Prescott
    Sheffield Univ.
  • errSejnowski 
    Salk Institute, San Diego, US

IBEC formalized collaborations 

  1. Collaboration/agreement with UCL for data sharing with Nick Warden of University College London (UCL) and Belen Rubio Ballester (SPECS) 
  2. Collaboration/agreement withRuhr- Universität Bochum Institut für Kognitive Neurowissenschaft for Daniel Pacheco visiting scientist position at IBEC 
  3. Collaboration/agreement withthe Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and Maria Blancas for a study with children on pedagogical learning. 

Clinical collaborations

  • The epileptic unit –Hospital Del Mar 
  • Rehabilitation (Stroke) Unit – Val D’Hebron 
  • Cannabis addiction – Hospital Clinic 
  • Stroke Aphasia – Hospital Tarragona 
  • Stroke/Schizophrenia/Mental health: Hospital SJDD-mental  
  • Personality Disorders –Hospital San Raffaele (Italy) 
  • Stroke – Hospital Del Ma 
  • Vestibular study –Hospital Tarragona 
  • Rehyb project: Valduce Hospital (Italy), Schön Klinik (Germany) 
  • Alcohol addiction Hospital Lindow (Germany)