news    views    talk    learn    |    about    contribute     republish     archives     calls/events

Tag : Social aspect


Robohub is an online platform that brings together leading communicators in robotics research, start-ups, business, and education from around the world.
by   -   October 6, 2013

Classic image of Luddites destroying automated loom.

Posting on the Slate blog Future Tense, James Bessen takes issue with the notion that technology causes unemployment, illustrating his point by debunking a pair of frequently cited examples, textile workers in the early nineteenth century and telephone operators during the mid-twentieth century.

In a response titled “Luddites Are Almost Always Wrong: Technology Rarely Destroys Jobs” on TechDirt’s Innovation blog, Bessen’s thesis is roundly applauded, but he is taken to task for failure to make the connection between the process which prevents net job destruction (the creation of new jobs) and reasonable access to intellectual property, currently endangered by nonpracticing patent owners (a.k.a. “patent trolls”).


by   -   October 3, 2013

TechyKidsClass

Sharon Marzouk with a class of excited youngsters and their Thymio-based creations.
Sharon has found classroom robotics is an excellent motivator for independent learning and discovery: “The way I see it, if we can get kids programming robots at the age of seven, by the time they are in high school and beyond, they’ll be doing something even more amazing.”

With a background in mechanical engineering and an interest in design, engineering and working with kids, I happened into robotics education – and now I’ve been happily teaching and involved for five years.


by , and   -   September 27, 2013

theresa_richards_arm

The Girls of Steel – a competitive FIRST team located in Pittsburg, PA – is on a mission to draw more young women into engineering. We’ve already heard what it’s like to be part of an all-girls robotics team, we now catch up with the team’s mentors, Theresa Richards and George Kantor, to hear about their roles in inspiring and mentoring the team. Here’s what they have to say …


by   -   September 24, 2013

To understand what the Drones for Schools program is, and how it came about, it helps to know a few things about my background. I didn’t originally set out to be a STEM educator. I had some science education from studying mechanical engineering as an undergraduate, but eventually wound up with a master’s in journalism. I didn’t think the two halves of my life would merge until I finished my master’s and took a job at a K-12 STEM education grant, at the University of Illinois


by   -   September 23, 2013

I am profoundly convinced that if we are able to preserve the natural curiosity of early childhood in growing up individuals, without fail they will develop a durable attraction to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Although this simple recipe seems to be a no-brainer, obviously education encounters insurmountable difficulties in maintaining the precious elementary drive. Once lost, almost therapeutic efforts will be necessary to awake it again.

GASTON_Robot_Students


by   -   August 15, 2013

robohub.org-robots_on_tourAs a robot animator I can attest to the fact that robots don’t “need” heads to be treated as social entities. Research has shown that people will befriend a stick as long as it moves properly [1].

We have a long-standing habit of anthropomorphizing things that aren’t human by attributing to them human-level personality traits or internal motivations based on cognitive-affective architectures that just aren’t there. Animators have relied on the audience’s willingness to suspend disbelief and, in essence, co-animate things into existence: from a sack of flour to a magic broom. It’s possible to incorporate the user’s willingness to bring a robot to life by appropriately setting expectations and being acutely aware of how the context of interaction affects possible outcomes.

In human lifeforms, a head usually circumscribes a face, whereas in a robot a face can be placed anywhere. Although wonderfully complex, in high degree of freedom (DOF) robot heads, the facial muscles can be challenging to orchestrate with sufficient timing precision. If your robot design facilitates expression through the careful control of the quality of motion rendered, a head isn’t necessary in order to communicate essential non-verbal cues. As long as you consider a means for revealing the robot’s internal state, a head simply isn’t needed. A robot’s intentions can be conveyed through expressive motion and sound regardless of its form or body configuration.

[1] Harris, J., & Sharlin, E. (2011, July). Exploring the affect of abstract motion in social human-robot interaction. In RO-MAN, 2011 IEEE (pp. 441-448). IEEE.

 


by   -   August 15, 2013

Robohub.org-Roboy-headThe obvious answer to this question is “No: there are lots of robots without heads.” It’s not even clear that social robots necessarily require a head, as even mundane robots like the Roomba are anthropomorphized (taking on human-like qualities) without a head. A follow-up question might be, “How are heads useful?” For humans, the reasons are apparent: food intake, a vessel for our brain, a locus for sensors (eyes and ears), and high-bandwidth communication via expression. What about for robots …?

  • Food intake: Probably not.
  • Computational storage: Again, probably not.
  • Location for sensors: Indeed, the apex of a robot is a natural, obstacle-free vantage point for non-contact sensors. But a “head” form factor is not a strict requirement.
  • Emotion and expression: Ah, the real meat of this question… “Do robots need to express emotion?”

This is a funny question to ask someone who once (in)famously advocated for either (A) extremely utilitarian designs: “I want my eventual home robot to be as unobtrusive as a trashcan or dishwasher”, or (B) designs unconstrained by the human form factor: “Why not give robots lots of arms (or only one)? Why impose human-like joint limits, arm configurations, and sensing? We can design our own mechanical lifeforms!”

My views have softened a bit over time. Early (expensive) general-purpose home robots will almost certainly have humanoid characteristics and have heads with the ability to express emotions (i.e. be social) — if nothing else, to appeal to the paying masses. And these robots will be useful: doing my laundry, cleaning my dishes, and cooking my meals. In the early attempts, I will still find their shallow attempts at emotion mundane and I will probably detest the sales pitches about “AI” and “robots that feel.” But as the emotional expressions become more natural and nuanced, and the robots become more capable, I will probably warm up to the idea myself.

TL;DR: No, many robots do not need heads. Even social robots may not need heads, but (whether I want them to or not) they probably will, because paying consumers will expect it.


by   -   August 11, 2013

On June 30th of this year, Ryerson University in Toronto held an event titled UAVs: Pros vs Cons Symposium. Some of the presentations have since been incorporated into a YouTube playlist by Nikola Danaylov.


by   -   August 8, 2013

In light of the popularity of his AR.Drone tutorials, we have invited Robohub contributor Mike Hamer to act as Guest Editor for our next focus series “Getting Started in Robotics.”

Like many children who show an early interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), my childhood years were spent constructing Lego masterpieces and deconstructing household electronics.


by   -   July 27, 2013

SUSBEXPO is the first conference about unmanned systems to really focus on the growing commercial opportunities of this market. AUVSI put on a spectacular annual show, but it is predominantly military systems. SUSBEXPO is the brain child of Patrick Egan, who is a UAS business consultant, as well as being deeply involved in AUVSI, SUASNews, building on a background with the military and regulatory groups. The conference was held at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco on July 25-26 and attracted attendees from all over the US and beyond. UAVs were on exhibit from companies like 3D Robotics, AgriFlight and MLB Drones, and Patrick Egan is expecting SUSBEXPO to be even larger next year.


by and   -   July 17, 2013

Autonomously flying robots — also called small-scale unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — are more and more exploited in civil and commercial applications for monitoring, surveillance, and disaster response. For some applications, it is beneficial if a team of coordinated UAVs rather than a single UAV is employed. Multiple UAVs can cover a given area faster or take photos from different perspectives at the same time. This emerging technology is still at an early stage and, consequently, profound research and development efforts are needed.


by   -   June 11, 2013

The definitive list of private funding in robotics–or at least the most widely cited is the Hizook VC Funding for Robotics list.  The list for 2012 is out.   Please help make it complete by adding a comment if you know of private funding for a robotics company that is not included.  I am certain that there are deals that are not included.


by   -   June 11, 2013

Ava-500-Hallway-Conversation
New iRobot AVA 500, planned for 2014 delivery, navigates autonomously and can be sent from point A to B using an iPad.


by   -   May 29, 2013

Hello drones lovers! Here is the video of our first humanitarian mission with Drone Adventures. We went to Haiti to explore the potential uses of drones to map encampments, riverbeds and entire villages.






Editor's Picks