Nao robot from Aldebaran Robotics

Question some of the roboticists

Next week over 20 robots will be arriving at the Museum for the Robotville Festival. Over the next few days we will be posting interviews with some of the roboticists to find out more about their research projects and the cultural implications of these latest developments in robotics.

Nao robot from Aldebaran Robotics

This is your chance to submit any questions you would like them to answer. Have a read of their biographies below and submit your questions via the comments.

Alan Winfield:

Alan Winfield is Professor of Electronic Engineering and Director of the Science Communication Unit at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He conducts research in swarm robotics in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

A robot swarm is a collection of relatively simple robots that interact with each other and with their environment, in ways that are inspired by the behaviour of the social insects. Even though the individual robot behaviours are simple we see fascinating group behaviours, such as flocking, emerge.

At Robotville Alan Winfield will demonstrate a swarm of miniature two wheeled mobile robots called e-pucks. Within the swarm, one group of robots are programmed with three simple rules which allow them to flock as a group. Another group of robots artificially ‘evolve’ their movement behaviours by both simulating and sharing solutions with one another whilst they move around.

Nick Hawes:

Dr Nick Hawes, is a lecturer in Intelligent Robotics at the University of Birmingham and will be bringing Dora The Explorer to Robotville. Dora is a mobile robot with a sense of curiosity and a drive to explore the world. Given an incomplete tour of an indoor environment, Dora is driven by internal motivations to probe the gaps in her spatial knowledge.

Dora will actively explore regions of space which she hasn’t previously visited but which she expects will lead her to further unexplored space. She will also attempt to determine the categories of rooms through active visual search for functionally important objects, and through ontology-driven inference on the results of this search

Peter McOwan:

Peter McOwan is currently a Professor of Computer Science in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London. His research interests are in visual perception and mathematical models for visual processing.

Peter will be showcasing software he has built that helps robots understands our emotions. This software will allow us to programme robots to understand how we feel, enabling them to respond to our various moods.

Please submit your questions in the comments below!

7 thoughts on “Question some of the roboticists

  1. Charlie and Jake

    How long until a robot shows preference, or ” falls in love” with someone – and would that ever lead them to reprioritize or even change their programing? Does that software that is tasked with being curious continuously increase its capacity to explore / make connections – is it getting more creative?

    Reply
  2. Luke

    In 2008, Nokia developed an anthropomimetic robot with an ‘imagination’.

    What further developments have their been in this field and we any closer, or have we achieved a robot with a stream of consciousness?

    How does Peter’s emotion software sit within this field?

    Reply
  3. Davor Fanton

    Hi!
    Is it a good moment to integrate assumptions of Asimov’s “Three Laws of Robotics” in autonomous robots. I am bit concerned to see new Boston Dynamic walking robot and possibilities. Amazing and frightening at the same time. What do think, is it plausuble to enforce some kind of global safety standard?
    Greetings from Zagreb
    Davor

    Reply
  4. Davor Fanton

    Sorry for typos, the question was: What do you think, is it plausible to enforce some kind of global safety standard? And addition: Can you comment on need of Technological Ethics with respect on autonomous robot behaviour which can be programmed to help and assist human persons, but not in every respect. Robot should be capable of identification of authority of particular human person or institution which are responsible for the robot. It seems that robots should have ID data and insignia, in order to integrate them in public space.

    Reply
  5. Milly Gandy

    Hello,

    My Son is 7 years old and very interested in robots …

    I’ve done some online research and we’re thinking of getting him a Lego’WeDo’ / Mindstorms robotics kit for Christmas to learn rudiments of mechanics/movement and programming … what’s the best way to find out more/get started in robotics in the UK ?

    From online research I’ve done U.S. seems really ahead in terms of exciting kids’ STEM education – there are lots of activities in-school, after-school clubs, competitive leagues, and even the BoyScouts have introduced a robotics badge : http://www.scouting.org/jamboree/sitecore/content/scouting/media/pressreleases/2011/20110411.aspx

    Reply
  6. Tim Gee

    Hi!
    How close are we to artificial intelligence? I see the phrase banded about a lot, but I guess what science fiction enthusiasts want to see is a robot we can talk to, reason with and one that has it’s own “thoughts”. C3PO from Star Wars, for example. Do you think we’ll see something like this in the next ten years?
    Thanks,
    Tim

    Reply

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