Title: Of Robots, Humans, Bodies, and Intelligence
I will report on current research work considering the hand – in the broad meaning of the cognitive organ of active touch – in relation to its embodiment. The general idea is to study how the embodied characteristics of the human hand and its sensors, the sensorimotor transformations, and the very constraints they impose, affect and determine the learning and control strategies we use for such fundamental cognitive functions as exploring, grasping and manipulating. The ultimate goal is to learn from human data and hypotheses-driven simulations how to devise improved system architectures for the “hand” as a cognitive organ, and eventually how to better design and control robot hands and haptic interfaces. The described research hinges about the conceptual structure and the geometry of such enabling constraints, or synergies: correlations in redundant hand mobility (motor synergies), correlations in redundant cutaneous and kinaesthetic receptors readings (multi-cue integration), and overall sensorimotor system synergies. I will also discuss how these can be turned into key ideas for advancing the state of the art in artificial systems for robotic manipulation and haptic and neuroprosthetic interfaces.
Antonio Bicchi is Senior Scientist with the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa and Professor of Robotics at the University of Pisa. He graduated from the University of Bologna in 1988 and was a postdoc scholar at MIT AI Lab in 1988–1991. His main research interests are in Robotics, Haptics, and Control Systems. He serves as Vice President for Publications in IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) and is one of the Editors in Chief for the series “Springer Briefs on Control, Automation and Robotics”. He is the recipient of several awards and honors. In 2012 he received an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council for his research on human and robot hands.
Title: Design Everything by Yourself
We live in a mass-production society today and everyone buy and use same things all over the world. This is cheap, but not necessarily ideal for individual persons. We envision that computer tools that help people to design things by themselves can enrich their lives. To that end, we have developed innovative interaction techniques for end users to (1) create rich graphics such as three-dimensional models and animations by simple sketching (2) design their own real-world, everyday objects such as clothing and furniture with realtime physical simulation integrated in a simple geometry editor, and (3) design the behavior of their personal robots and give instructions to them to satisfy their particular needs. I will introduce these result with live demonstrations.
Takeo Igarashi is a Professor of Computer Science Department at The University of Tokyo. He received a Ph.D from the Department of Information Engineering at The University of Tokyo in 2000. He then worked as a post doctoral research associate at Brown University (2000 – 2002). He joined the University of Tokyo as an Assistant Professor in 2002, and became a Professor in 2011. He also served as a director for JST ERATO Igarashi Design Interface project (2007 – 2013). His research interest is in user interfaces and interactive computer graphics. He has received several awards including the IBM Science Prize, the JSPS Prize, the ACM SIGGRAPH 2006 Significant New Researcher Award, and the Katayanagi Prize in Computer Science.
Title: Chasing our Science Fiction Future
Engineers and researchers, particularly in the field of robotics and human-computer interaction, are often inspired by science fiction futures depicted in novels, on television, and in the movies. For example, Honda’s Asimo humanoid robot is said to have been directly inspired by the Astroboy manga series. In turn, public perception of science is also shaped by science fiction. For better or worse, broad technological expectations of the future (aesthetic and otherwise) are largely set by exposure to science fiction in popular culture.
These depictions have a direct impact on attitudes toward new technology. We review some common tropes of science fiction (including the idea of the “singularity” and killer robots) and examine why certain archetypes might persist while others fall by the wayside. From the perspective of a scientist-turned-sci-fi-author, we discuss factors that go into the creation of science fiction and how these factors may or may not correspond to the needs and wants of the actual science community.
Exposure to science fiction influences scientists and the general public, both to build and adopt new technologies. The inextricable link between science and science fiction helps to determine how and when those futures arrive.
Daniel H. Wilson is the author of the New York Times bestselling Robopocalypse and its sequel Robogenesis, as well as seven other books, including How to Survive a Robot Uprising, A Boy and His Bot, and Amped. In 2008, he hosted The Works on the History Channel. He earned a PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as Masters degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. His novel Robopocalypse was purchased by DreamWorks and is currently being adapted for film by Steven Spielberg. Wilson lives in Portland, Oregon.