In this episode, Ron Vanderkley speaks with Dr. Eleanor Sandry of Curtin University about her new book Robots and Communication. In the interview, we explore human to animal communication and what we can learn from it; human to humanoid robots interaction; and human to non-humanoid robots interactions. Also, we discuss Western and Eastern perceptions of robotics.
Dr. Eleanor Sandry
Eleanor Sandry is a Lecturer in the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. Her research is focused on developing an ethical and pragmatic recognition of, and respect for, otherness and difference in communication. Much of her work explores communication theory and practice by analysing human-robot interactions in science fact, science fiction and creative art.
In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks with Hunter Lloyd, who is a Professor of Robotics at Montana State University and a comedian. Hunter performs a comedy act for all ages with partner Looney, a NAO Humanoid Robot from Aldebaran Robotics. Lloyd discusses making people laugh with his robot partner, why he does it, and how what he’s learned as a comedian relates to robotics.
Hunter Lloyd is an award winning Professor, business owner, inventor, author, comedian, and family man. While Hunter was an undergraduate student studying accounting, he postponed his college career to start stand-up comedy. For six years Hunter toured the country working with acts such as Jerry Seinfeld and Tim Allen. Hunter headlined his first comedy show at Laffs in Tucson, Arizona; at the age of 23, he appeared on television networks such as MTV, VH1 and The Comedy Channel. After touring for several years, Hunter went back to complete his undergraduate degree and graduate school where he studied engineering and computer science, which eventually led him to the field of robotics. Hunter is now a Professor of Robotics at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana. Hunter and his students have excelled in a number of competitions including the NASA Robotics Championship, the Robot Olympic Games, and Robogames.
Hunter is also a robotics entrepreneur: founding a robotics company in 2005 that helped develop the RangeWatcher and WatchKeeper technologies for the Predator Unmanned Aircraft Group. Today, Hunter combines his skills as a robotics engineer and comedian to perform to audiences of students, inspiring them to follow their dreams in the fields of math and science.
In today’s episode Per Sjöborg speaks with Giulio Sandini, director of the Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences department at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), about how he eventually came to study robotics after starting out as a vision scientist in the field of bioengineering. They talk about why interdisciplinary work is important to robotics, and how diverse teams of engineers, biologists, psychologists, mathematicians, physicists, and medical doctors can learn from each other; Sandini follows up with several examples of interdisciplinary success at the IIT including the iCub and COMAN humanoid platforms, the HyQ quadruped, and their work in rehabilitation robotics.
Giulio Sandini Giulio Sandini is Director of Research at the Italian Institute of Technology and full professor of bioengineering at the University of Genoa. After his graduation in Electronic Engineering (Bioengineering) at the University of Genova in 1976 he was research fellow and assistant professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa until 1984. During this period, working at the Laboratorio di Neurofisiologia of the CNR, he investigated aspects of visual processing at the level of single neurons as well as aspects of visual perception in human adults and children. He has been Visiting Research Associate at the Department of Neurology of the Harvard Medical School in Boston. After his return to Genova in 1984 as associate professor he founded the Laboratory for Integrated Advanced Robotics. In 1996 he was Visiting Scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab of MIT.
Since 2006 he is Director of Research at the Italian Institute of Technology where he has established and is currently directing the Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences department. RBCS is a multidisciplinary environment composed of researchers with different backgrounds (engineers, biologists, psychologists, mathematicians, physicists, medical doctors) sharing “human centered” Scientific and Technological interests along three streams of research: Humanoid Cognition, Human Behavior and Biomechanics, Brain Machine Interface.
In this episode, Sabine Hauert interviews Paul Oh, the Director of the Drexel Autonomous Systems Lab at Drexel University. His team, spanning 10 universities, is competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) with the HUBO humanoid made by KAIST in South Korea. The goal of the challenge is to design robots capable of assisting humans in responding to natural and man-made disasters. Trials will take place next week in Florida from December 20-21 and will require robots to drive a vehicle, walk over rough terrain, clear debris, open doors, use a hand tool to break through a wall, climb a ladder, turn a valve, and finally drag a hose and connect it to pipes. The 7 HUBO robots on Oh’s team will be competing against sixteen other teams from around the world to determine which teams continues on to the DRC Finals in 2014 with continued DARPA funding. Competing in the 2014 Finals will lead to one team winning a $2 million prize.
The video below shows Oh’s vision for robot-enabled disaster response in 2020. You can find more videos of the HUBO working on tasks for the trials here.
Paul Oh Paul Oh is a Full Professor at Drexel’s Mechanical Engineering Department, Affiliated Faculty in the ECE Department, and Director of the Drexel Autonomous Systems Lab (DASL). He received mechanical engineering degrees from McGill (B.Eng 1989), Seoul National (M.Sc 1992), and Columbia (PhD 1999). Honors include faculty fellowships at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (2002), Naval Research Lab (2003), the NSF CAREER award (2004), the SAE Ralph Teetor Award for Engineering Education Excellence (2005) and being named a Boeing Welliver Fellow (2006). He is also the Founding Chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Aerial Robotics and UAVs. From 2008-2010, he served at the National Science Foundation (NSF) as the Program Director managing the robotics research portfolio. Paul Oh was named ASME Fellow in 2011. Links:
She is now involved in the FILOSE, robotic fish locomotion and sensing project, whose team attempts to build robots that mimic how fish react and adapt to the water flow around them. In the first part of the interview Professor Kruusmaa talks about why they are using a novel, soft and compliant body approach for robotic fish rather than the more common linked chain. She describes how this embodiment helps reduce the computational load and how it allows them to make a simpler and cheaper robot that is more reliable than a more rigid version would be. We also hear about opportunities that come from sensing and adapting to the flow and the advantages of robotic fish compared to conventional UAVs, before talking about possible applications, such as underwater archeology.
Professor Kruusmaa is the R&D Director of Fits.me since 2009, working alongside COO Diana Saarva. They have created a virtual fitting room which enables users to virtually try on clothes before buying them, with the help of shape-shifting robotic mannequins which can grow from slim to muscular in just a few moments. This allows buyers to enter their measurements and see what clothes would look like on them.
Fits.me robotic mannequin
In the second part of the interview, Professor Kruusmaa and Diana Saarva talk about the Fits.me idea. It is particularly interesting to hear about how they developed the cooperation between the technology/research side and the entrepreneurs/business side.
Diana Saarva joined Fits.me in September 2009, and became the COO in 2011. She is responsible for supervising and coordinating all client operations and developing new business development.