The climate emergency brooks no compromise: every human activity or artefact is either part of the solution or it is part of the problem. I’ve worried about the sustainability of consumer electronics for some time, and, more recently, the shocking energy costs of big AI. But the climate emergency has also caused me to think hard about the sustainability of robots.
Watch Johanna Austin talk about her journey, make her own career path, and trailblazing a way in STEM!! Johanna Austin was the first female Robotics and Automation Research Engineer in Boeing’s Melbourne based robotics group. She was awarded her Bachelor of Engineering with First Class Honors at RMIT and her Masters of Science in Computer Science at Georgia Tech. Her latest role is as Technical Lead Engineer – Robotics Systems at AOS Group with focus in autonomous systems and distributed AI. Johanna is also a part time helicopter pilot. She shares information about her career journey and her feelings at being the first woman in ten years in her research group, how she handled that and the importance of having women around you at work. Johanna also shows some of the advanced robotics research that she’s been engaged in with Boeing.
Research is all about being the first, but commercialization is all about repeatability, not just many times but every single time. This was one of the key takeaways from the Transitioning Research From Academia to Industry panel during the National Robotics Initiative Foundational Research in Robotics PI Meeting on March 10 2021. I had the pleasure of moderating a discussion between Lael Odhner, Co-Founder of RightHand Robotics, Andrea Thomaz, Co-Founder/CEO of Diligent Robotics and Assoc Prof at UTexas Austin, and Kel Guerin, Co-Founder/CIO of READY Robotics.
The difference between robotics and automation is almost nonexistent and yet has a huge difference in everything from trade shows, marketing, publications to academic conferences and journals. This week, the difference was expressed as an opportunity in the Dear Colleague Letter below from Professor Ken Goldberg, CITRIS CPAR and UC Berkeley, who suggested that students whose papers were rejected from ICRA, revise them for CASE, the Conference on Automation Science and Engineering. This opportunity was expressed beautifully in the title quote from Professor Raja Chatila, ex President of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and current President of IEEE Global Society on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems. “One robot on Mars is robotics, ten robots on Mars is automation.”
Speakers in tonight’s Society, Robots and Usat 6pm PST Tuesday Feb 23 include Henry Evans, mute quadriplegic and founder of Robots4Humanity and Aaron Edsinger, founder of Hello Robot. We’ll also being talking about robots for people with disabilities with Disability Advocate Adriana Mallozi, founder of Puffin Innovations and Daniel Seita, who is a deaf roboticist. The event is free and open to the public.
Eliza Kosoy is a Ph.D Student at UC Berkeley. She studied mathematics in college and then worked for Prof. Joshua Tenenbaum at MIT in his computational cognitive science lab. She then started on a Ph.D at UC Berkeley working with Professor Alison Gopnik in 2018. She is most proud of receiving funding and winning an innovation prize that catalyzed her business! Her startup is called E-liza Dolls. They are 18’’ electronic “liza” dolls that introduce young girls to coding and hardware in a fun way!
Here’s a Women in Robotics Spotlight, where we share stories from women who are working on all sorts of interesting projects who haven’t yet been featured in our Annual Showcase. We hope these stories provide inspiration to everyone to join us working in the field of robotics. And if you’re a woman working in robotics, why not contribute your story too!
As the field of robotics matures, our community must grapple with the multifaceted impact of our research; in this article, we describe two previous workshops hosting robotics debates and advocate for formal debates to become an integral, standalone part of major international conferences, whether as a plenary session or as a parallel conference track.
Women in Robotics is a grassroots community involving women from across the globe. Our mission is supporting women working in robotics and women who would like to work in robotics. We formed an official 501c3 non-profit organization in 2020 headquartered in Oakland California. We’d like to introduce our 2021 Board of Directors:
Welcome to the first of our Women in Robotics Spotlights, where we share stories from women who haven’t yet been featured in our Annual Showcase but who are working on all sorts of interesting projects. We hope these stories provide inspiration to everyone to join us working in the field of robotics. And if you’re a woman working in robotics, why not contribute your story too!
“Making robots communicate with humans in natural language is a fascinating challenge. There is a lot going on during interactions between robots and humans. Humans make gestures, observe or interact with visible objects in the environment, and display emotions. What motivates me is equipping social robots with the ability to interact seamlessly, by recognizing a given situation and talking about it” says Dimitra Gkatzia who specializes in Natural Language Generation for Human-Robot Interaction.
The UK Robotics Growth Partnership (RGP) aims to set the conditions for success to empower the UK to be a global leader in Robotics and Autonomous Systems whilst delivering a smarter, safer, more prosperous, sustainable and competitive UK. The aim is for smart machines to become ubiquitous, woven into the fabric of society, in every sector, every workplace, and at home. If done right, this could lead to increased productivity, and improved quality of life. It could enable us to meet Net Zero targets, and support workers as their roles transition from menial tasks.
The gendering of robots is something I’ve found fascinating since I first started building robots out of legos with my brother. We all ascribe character to robots, consciously or not, even when we understand exactly how robots work. Until recently we’ve been able to write this off as science fiction stuff, because real robots were boring industrial arms and anything else was fictional. However, since 2010, robots have been rolling out into the real world in a whole range of shapes, characters and notably, stereotypes. My original research on the naming of robots gave some indications as to just how insidious this human tendency to anthropomorphize and gender robots really is. Now we’re starting to face the consequences and it matters.