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Users in focus – Creating service robots for and with people

Dr Astrid Weiss from Technical University Vienna, will be presenting in the SoCS research seminar. Her work is at the crossroads of robotics, computer science, Human Computer Interaction, and social sciences; investigating robotic applications in public space, elderly care and factory settings.

This is a research seminar open to attendees across the university, in particular interesting for computer science, engineering, and and social sciences.

Date/Time: 24/4/2015 10am
Place: MC2201

 

Astrid Weiss, TU Wien

Users in focus – Creating service robots for and with people

Abstract
User involvement is a widely accepted principle in the development of usable and acceptable technology. However, it is still a vague approach in the research field of human-robot interaction. I share with you my experiences on the nature of user involvement and how it can be integrated in the development of service robots, providing examples from different contexts (elderly care, public space, factory environments, etc.) and user groups (children, older adults, naive users, expert users, etc.). I’ll present reflections from a social scientists working on human-robot interaction from several years of user studies and field work.CV
Astrid Weiss is a postdoctoral research fellow in HRI at the Vision4Robotics group at the ACIN Institute of Automation and Control at Vienna University of Technology (Austria). Her current research focuses on Human-Robot Cooperation in vision-based tasks and service robots for older adults. Her research is inspired by Theory of Mind and the approach of transferring findings from human-human studies to human-robot interaction in order to improve intuitiveness and acceptance. Her general research interests are user-centered design and evaluation studies for Human-Computer Interaction and Human-Robot Interaction with a focus on in-the-wild studies and controlled experiments. She is especially interested in the impact technology has on our everyday life and what makes people accept or reject technology. Before her position in Vienna she was a postdoc researcher at the HCI&Usability Unit, of the ICT&S Center, University of Salzburg, Austria and at the Christian Doppler Laboratory on “Contextual Interfaces” at University of Salzburg. Astrid holds a master’s degree in sociology and a PhD in social sciences from the University of Salzburg. During her studies she specialized on methodologies of empirical social research and applied statistics. From September 2011 until January 2012 she was on a short-term sabbatical at the University of Amsterdam, Intelligent Systems Lab and the University of Twente, HMI group to work with Vanessa Evers on Cross-Cultural studies in Human-Robot Interaction.

Posted in Human-Robot interaction, Research.


Student’s handy app brings the ‘phone’ to iPhone

A Computer Science student from the University of Lincoln, UK, has created a handy new app that provides iPhone users with a quick and simple way of dialling a number, no matter which app is in operation.

Raviraj Minawala’s ‘Addial’ app simply places a dial-pad in the ‘Today’ view, making it possible to place a call from anywhere on your iPhone.

Once it is added users can tap on the phone icon to place a call or begin composing a message by tapping the text bubble.

Raviraj, who is currently a second year undergraduate in Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, said: “There was a lot of demand for this particular app as it allows users to call, add and copy phone numbers anywhere throughout the iOS operating system.This means users don’t always have to access the phone app specifically to do phone related functions. It brings the ‘phone’ to iPhone.”

Addial is now available in the App Store and has been featured on CNET – one of the world’s most influential technology news and review sites.

Raviraj has also developed iOS ‘tweaks’ that includes ‘Pluck’, which allows users to access the music library from the Lock-screen and Control Centre to instantly play or queue music. Another tweak called ‘Define’ allows access to the Dictionary, Wikipedia or Thesaurus from anywhere using the Control Centre – without leaving current content.

Raviraj, who aims to gain experience in a software company on graduation, eventually aspires to set up his own company.
Raviraj added: “The resources and teaching support provided by the University of Lincoln has really helped me to showcase my developments. As I enter the third year of my degree I aim to complete the mobile computing module, which will enhance my skills even further.”

To see more examples of Raviraj’s projects go to www.ravirajm.com or follow him on Twitter @rv1raj.

Addial

 

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Can robots guess our next move?

Researchers have programmed a robot that is able to understand and react to human movement.

The team, based at the University of Lincoln, UK, have developed a computational model which focusses on the essence of movement, representing the relative movement of human and robot in relation to one another.

This enables the robot to reason about not only its movements but how the human will be influenced by it; and how the robot should then react to the human’s behaviour.

The research was carried out as part of the collaborative STRANDS project aimed at creating mobile robots that are able to operate independently, based on an understanding of 3D space and how this space changes over time.

Funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework programme (FP7), the research project involves six academic partners, a security company and an Austrian care home provider, where the technology will be tested.

Linda, who is based at the University of Lincoln, is one of six specialist mobile robots currently being programmed to act intelligently in real-world environments, with the ultimate aim of being able to support security guards or staff in care homes.
Named after the city’s Roman roots as Lindum Colonia, Linda was used to test out the model.

Lead author Christian Dondrup, from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, said: “For mobile robots to be used in populated environments, they have to understand how humans behave and be able to move when encountering each other in a corridor for example. In such situations, the robot’s movement not only has to be safe but the robot has to be able to convey its intention on where and how to move, how to react to the human’s movements, and how the human will react to it. Current research mainly focuses on how the robot has to avoid a human, but not on how their movement might influence each other.”

The research paper has been published in the international journal Robotics.

STRANDS robots. Credit: John Robertson

STRANDS robots. Credit: John Robertson

Posted in Human-Robot interaction, Research.

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Students to showcase work

Computer Science students will be exhibiting their projects during a two-day event on Wednesday, 6th May to Thursday, 7th May, 2015.

All students, staff and visitors are welcome to the event which will include presentations from Postgraduate by Research students and final year undergraduates.

The event runs from 9.30am to 5pm on both days and will take place across the third floor of the MHT building on the University’s Brayford Campus.

The School is always open for companies and potential employers to get in touch and participate.

For more information contact Dr Ahmed at aahmed@lincoln.ac.uk

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

Student Showcase 2014

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Video: The Gadget Show’s Jason Bradbury

Technology expert and The Gadget Show presenter Jason Bradbury revealed the technological advances which most inspire him when he delivered his inaugural lecture at the University of Lincoln, UK.

Here’s what Jason has to say about becoming one of our newest Visiting Lecturers.

 

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