Archive for the ‘Podcast’ Category

November 7th, 2008

Robots: Androids, Human Presence and the Uncanny Valley

This episode covers android science and human-robot interactions with expert Hiroshi Ishiguro from Osaka. After the interview we feature the last installment of Jack Graham’s Selkies story, as well as a poll on the future of Androids.

Hiroshi Ishiguro

Hiroshi Ishiguro is Professor of the Department of Adaptive Machine Systems, and the group leader of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University.

If you’ve ever seen an Android robot in the news, it probably came out of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory. Starting from the robotic replicate of his then 5 year old daughter, Prof. Ishiguro then went on to model a female android after Ayako Fujii, the NHK news announcer. Finally, his latest robot Geminoid, which is a close copy of himself, is able to replace its creator in lectures and interviews.

His robots are highly actuated to give them human like facial expressions and reflexes. However, because the AI needed to interact in a human-like manner is not always advanced enough, Prof. Ishiguro has been looking to partially teleoperate his robots. Another approach investigated is to make his robots autonomous by having them perceive and react to their world thanks to networks of cameras and microphones.

Using these robots as a tool, Prof. Ishiguro has been exploring the field of Android Science, which looks at both the appearance and behavior of humanoid robots and their impact on human robot interactions. In particular, he is looking to verify the existence of the uncanny valley and to explore how to make androids which sufficiently resemble humans to be likable. On the more philosophical side, his androids open the door to understanding what human presence really means.


What is your take on androids? Will androids ever become indistinguishable from humans, both in looks and behaviour? Will they become unrecognizable like the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica, or remain awkward like Data from Star Trek? Take the poll on the Robots forum!


In this last installment of the Jack Graham’s Selkies story Mangan sets his Selkies free with a new schooling algorithm in a sea full of sharks. Will this new generation of robotic swimmers escape the jaws of the sharks? Tune in to find out…


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As always, you can find more info on the robots mentioned in this episode on the robot forum, including what may be your future robot
, Australia’s anti IED robot SPIKER as well as videos and a slideshow of 25 years of CMU’s Field Robotics Center.

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March 14th, 2008

Talking Robots Podcast LogoTalking Robots: Curious Robots
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In this episode we interview Frederic Kaplan. After ten years of research at the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris, he is now researcher at the CRAFT at the EPFL in Lausanne Switzerland where he supervises a new team focusing on interactive furniture and robotic objects. From curious AIBO robots to interactive robot computers and furniture, he has been exploring technologies permitting to endow objects with a personal history so that they become different as we interact with them and to learn from one another, thus creating an ecosystem in perpetual evolution.


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January 18th, 2008

Talking Robots Podcast LogoTalking Robots: Autonomous Robots
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In this interview we talk to Roland Siegwart who is Full Professor at the Autonomous Systems Lab at the ETH Zurich. Based on his experience with the 18 robots he’s created, he shares his know-how on autonomous robotics and the research which is being done on robot navigation/localization and mapping.


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November 9th, 2007

Talking Robots Podcast LogoTalking Robots: Playware and Edutainment
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In this episode we talk to Henrik Lund who is the director of the AdapTronics Group at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark. He just recently launched the Center for Playware in the same institute which has recently received wide media attention (Wired, NewScientistTech, CNN) for motivating kids and adults to play on his interactive playgrounds and therapy tiles. Henrik also explains how he is inspiring Tanzanian children to become inventors and engineers with the AfroBot project.


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