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Challenges in Human-Robot Interaction

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Human-robot interaction (HRI) is a highly interdisciplinary field that has grown substantially over the past 15 years. My talk will reflect on the concept of ‘social robots’ and focus on companion robots, i.e. robots that provide useful assistance to people and are required to interact with people in a socially acceptable ways. More and more robotics projects focus on human-robot collaboration and interaction scenarios, with applications e.g. in healthcare, service robotics, entertainment and manufacturing. My own research currently includes basic research into HRI as well as application oriented research into the development of robot home companions and robot-assisted therapy for children with autism. The talk will emphasize the need for a highly user-centred towards design, development and evaluation of companion robots. General findings from such work highlight the need for robots to be personalized and to learn cooperatively with the users. Thus, while companion robots don’t necessarily need to be ‘life-like’ or humanoid in appearance and behaviour, they do need to deal with the complexity and dynamics of the (human) social and non-social environments they operate in. I will outline challenges and opportunities of these research areas, avenues for future research, and will also comment on some common misconceptions of the reality and future of social robotic

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Wednesday Seminars series.

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