Tag Archives: Dr John Murray

From 3D-printed blacksmith artefacts to proton therapy

LiGHTS Nights is coming to Lincoln and the School of Computer Science is putting on a variety of workshops and lectures you don’t want to miss.

Produce real blacksmith artefacts with the latest 3D-printer technology, find out how Lincoln research is improving proton therapy for cancer sufferers, and get up close and personal with our all-seeing robots, all for LiGHTS Nights on September 30th.

Computer Science does Lights Nights
Computer Science to showcase 3D printing, robotics and proton therapy research
More than 40 scientific workshops, talks and exhibitions will take place as part of the action-packed LiGHTS Nights (Lincoln – Get Hold of Tech and Science) event, which will invite people of all ages to learn more about research projects that are changing the world we live in today.
LiGHTS Nights – a celebration of how science and technology impacts on our daily lives –will take place on the University of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool campus and in venues across the city.
Visitors to LiGHTS Nights will be introduced to Lincoln’s ensemble cast of robots – the focus of exciting studies into artificial intelligence – and invited to experience the latest developments in Virtual Reality, the technology trend taking the world by storm.
Get 3D-printing real blacksmith artefacts from 12-6pm in the Minerva Building, Atrium with Dr John Murray.
A workshop called ‘See Humans Through a Robot’s Eyes’ will run at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm throughout the day in the LLMC Lecture Theatre, David Chiddick Building with Dr Marc Hanheide.
Professor Nigel Allinson will give an insightful talk into his Proton Therapy research: ‘A positive beam of hope for cancer treatments’ at 3pm in the Stephen Langton Lecture Theatre (Emmtec).
LiGHTS Nights is free to attend but bookings for individual sessions should be made in advance. More more information is available and bookings can be made online.

European Researchers’ Night is an annual Europe-wide initiative that takes place on the last Friday of September. The Lincoln showcase is one of more than 250 events occurring simultaneously in major cities across the continent this year, each inviting members of the public to meet ‘heroes of science’; the researchers from different disciplines whose work has the potential to change our world.

LiGHTS Nights will see academics from the University’s Colleges of Science, Arts and Social Science present their pioneering studies and invite visitors to become scientists for the day by participating in a range of different activities and experiments.

The programme of events, which features exhibitions, tours, public lectures, workshops, screenings and performances, begins at 11am and runs until 10pm. Visitors are encouraged to attend several events and make the most of the variety of activities on offer.

Read the full article here

 

How perfect is too perfect?

MARC the 3D printed robot
MARC the 3D printed robot
Research reveals robot flaws are key to interacting with humans.

Humans are less likely to form successful working relationships with interactive robots if they are programmed to be too perfect.

Interactive or ‘companion’ robots are increasingly used to support caregivers for elderly people and for children with autism, Asperger syndrome or attachment disorder, yet by programming their behaviour to become more intelligent we could in fact be creating barriers to long-term human-robot relationships, the research suggests.

Conducted by robotics experts from the University of Lincoln, UK, the study found that a person is much more likely to warm to an interactive robot if it shows human-like ‘cognitive biases’ – deviations in judgement which form our individual characteristics and personalities, complete with errors and imperfections.The investigation was conducted by PhD researcher Mriganka Biswas and overseen by Dr John Murray from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science. Their findings were presented at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) conference in Hamburg in October 2015.

Mriganka said: “Our research explores how we can make a robot’s interactive behaviour more familiar to humans, by introducing imperfections such as judgemental mistakes, wrong assumptions, expressing tiredness or boredom, or getting overexcited. By developing these cognitive biases in the robots – and in turn making them as imperfect as humans – we have shown that flaws in their ‘characters’ help humans to understand, relate to and interact with the robots more easily.”

Currently most human-robot interaction is based on a set of well-ordered and structured rules and behaviours. However the Lincoln academics used a technique new to robotics research, which involved introducing the cognitive biases ‘misattribution of memory’ and ‘empathy gap’ – which traditionally play a significant role in human interactions and relationships – to two different robots.

The investigation involved Dr Murray’s robot ERWIN (Emotional Robot with Intelligent Network), which has the ability to express five basic emotions, and Keepon, a small yellow robot designed to study social development by interacting with children.

The researchers examined a number of interactions between the robots and human participants. During half of the interactions the robots were not affected by cognitive biases, but during the remainder, ERWIN made mistakes when remembering simple facts (using verbal abilities and expressions) and Keepon showed extreme happiness or sadness (using various movements and noises).

The participants were then asked to rate their experiences, and the results revealed that almost of all of those taking part enjoyed a more meaningful interaction with the robots when they made mistakes.

“The cognitive biases we introduced led to a more humanlike interaction process,” Mriganka explained. “We monitored how the participants responded to the robots and overwhelmingly found that they paid attention for longer and actually enjoyed the fact that a robot could make common mistakes, forget facts and express more extreme emotions, just as humans can.

“The human perception of robots is often affected by science fiction; however there is a very real conflict between this perception of superior and distant robots, and the aim of human-robot interaction researchers. A companion robot needs to be friendly and have the ability to recognise users’ emotions and needs, and act accordingly. Despite this, robots used in previous research have lacked human characteristics so that users cannot relate – how can we interact with something that is more perfect than we are?

“As long as a robot can show imperfections which are similar to those of humans during their interactions, we are confident that long-term human-robot relations can be developed.”

The results of this study pave the way for the next phase of Mriganka’s PhD research, which will investigate whether using robots that show cognitive bias in a similar way, but which look more human-like, develops even more successful relationships. Mriganka’s current studies involve MARC (Multi-Actuated Robotic Companion), Dr Murray’s 3D-printed humanoid robot. The design of MARC is supplied by the open source project InMoov.

Previous research suggests that the appearance of humanoid robots helps users to understand their gestures more intuitively. Hand movements, body language and speech are easy for the human sensory system to interpret straight away as they have been practised since childhood. Mriganka will research whether this familiarity, coupled with cognitive biases and humanlike faults, will stimulate even more positive reactions from users.

Robots attend Europe’s largest tech conference

3D-printed robots from the University of Lincoln, UK, have taken their first overseas trip to attend Europe’s largest annual technology event in Dublin.

Web Summit, which runs from 4th to 6th November 2014, has been called ‘the best technology conference on the planet’.

MARC (Multi-Actuated Robotic Companion) and TAMMIE (Technologically Advanced Multi-Modal Interactive Entity), two androids created by Dr John Murray from Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, made guest appearances at the event.

Dr Murray was invited to the event to team up with Wevolver, a start-up company that aims to bring together open source projects and communities to develop new and exciting creative ideas.

MARC and TAMMIE, together with their fellow robot ERWIN, are being used to help scientists understand how more realistic long-term relationships might be developed between humans and androids. Existing robots lack identifiable human characteristics that prevent humans developing a bond with them.

The project team believe their studies into human-computer interaction could one day see robots act as companions and may also help researchers to understand how relationships are built by children with conditions such as autism, Asperger syndrome or attachment disorder. MARC and TAMMIE are 3D-printed robots whose design was supplied by the open source project InMoov (www.inmoov.fr).

Web Summit will attract around 22,000 people – including 700 investors and 1,300 journalists – and speakers include the CEO of Dropbox, Drew Houston; the founder of Paypal and the first investor in Facebook, Peter Thiel; and actress and entrepreneur Eva Longoria.

3D robots Dublin 2 Dublin event