Social Robotics  A New Generation of Robots Built for People

Speaker:  Kerstin Dautenhahn – Hatfield, Canada
Topic(s):  Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Natural language processing


Compared to how people interact with computer and other electronic devices, something ‘special’ happens when humans come in contact and interact with physical robots. Human-Robot Interaction is a growing area of research where researchers try to understand how to design robotic systems that can interact with people.  The talk will discuss the recent development of companion robots that can provide useful assistance to users in a socially acceptable manner. Such research focusses on the one hand on fundamental issues of human-robot interaction, learning and adaptation, but on the other hand is deeply inspired by concrete application areas and their requirements.  The first part of the talk will introduce concepts and methodologies of developing social robots and discuss challenges.

In the second part of the talk I will illustrate social robotics research in a particular application area that the speaker has studied since 2004, as part of the European projects Cogniron, LIREC and ACCOMPANY. Here the goal is to develop social robots as companions who can provide useful assistance (cognitive, physical and social) to people living in their own homes. One group of target users are elderly people who might benefit from a robot in their home in order to help them live independently. Such assistance is hoped to delay the move into a special care home, which is often associated with a loss of autonomy and a decline in wellbeing.  Developing home assistance robots is a topic that is currently studied worldwide, and the talk will give examples from research in our own group. Our human-robot interaction research is primarily conducted in the University of Hertfordshire Robot House where we use the narrative framing technique in order to immerse study participants in our experimental scenarios. Such an approach bridges the gap between experimental laboratory environments and real homes, allowing for controlled studies in an ecologically valid environment. The talk will illustrate the scientific challenges and touch upon ethical and societal issues of such robot companion technology development.

About this Lecture

Number of Slides:  30
Duration:  45 or 60 minutes
Languages Available:  English
Last Updated: 

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