So, Where’s My Robot?

Thoughts on Social Machine Learning

Bring your Robot Learners to AAAI @ATL

ldbrobotNext summer, AAAI 2010 will be coming to Atlanta.  I’m co-chairing the Robotics Exhibit with Monica Anderson.  This is both an open exhibit for demonstrations of robotics research that intersects with AAAI, and demonstrations focused on specific challenge problems.

Each challenge is intended to be an experiment designed to motivate and evaluate an individual function of artificial intelligence for robotics, similar to the Semantic Robot Vision Challenge at AAAI-07.

This is the second year that Learning by Demonstration will be one of the topics.  Last year we had open demonstrations of LbD systems.  This year’s LbD event is being organized by Sonia Chernova, and folks are invited to optionally participate in a LbD challenge problem:

Optional challenge event in which all participants will perform an object relocation task that involves teaching the robot to move an object from one place to another. Each participating team will be provided with sample objects for practice in the weeks before the event. Due to differences in embodiment and learning algorithms, we expect to see a wide variety of approaches for performing the target behavior. A video showcasing the results will be compiled by the event organizers.

Applications for exhibitors aren’t due until later in the Spring, so plenty of time to get your learning robots ready for Atlanta!

October 27th, 2009 Posted by | Announcements, Conferences | no comments

Age and Social Robots

The HFA lab at Georgia Tech has drawn some interesting conclusions from a recent study–older adults may be more open to robots monitoring and assisting them in their homes compared to younger adults.

Their survey asked people about their willingness to have a robot in their home doing a variety of tasks, and older adults were more likely to say “Warn about a danger in my home” or “Inform my doctor if I have a medical emergency,” were important tasks.

This goes against the idea that older adults are generally assumed to be late adopters of technology. It is possible that the ability to live independently rather than move to an assisted living center will be a huge motivating factor that makes older adults the early adopters of social robots in the home.

Perhaps roboticists should be focusing more energy on designing for older adults as end-users.  Another HFA study shows that at least in the realm of recognizing an emotional expression displayed by a robot, age is a significant factor.  This is likely one of many aspects of social robot design that might differ with age.

October 21st, 2009 Posted by | HRI, In the News | no comments