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

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.

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.

Workshop on Human-Robot Spatial Interaction at HRI 2015

hrsi-logo-rotMembers of L-CAS are organising the workshop on Human-Robot Spatial Interaction at next year’s HRI conference. This is a prime venue for researchers to share new insights and progress on the following topics:

  • Human-Aware Navigation (with a focus on elderly and/or mobility impaired persons, and children with motoric or cognitive problems)
  • Human-Robot Joint Motion
  • Human-Human Spatial Interaction (HHSI)
  • The communicative character of spatial movement, social signals in HRSI and HHSI
  • Interactive Learning/Adaptation of HRSI – “Human-in-the-loop”
  • Visual cues to facilitate legibility of movement in HRSI and HHSI
  • Feedback Measures and Devices for HRSI and HHSI
  • Ethical issues arising from mobile robots in elder care and education

Submit your research papers by 18/01/2015 – 23:59PST.


Further details can be found in the workshop’s website.

Robot Linda to meet the public at London’s Natural History Museum

Members of the public will have the opportunity to meet Linda the robot at a week-long celebration of university research at the Natural History Museum in London.

Linda is a specialist mobile robot 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.

She is one of six robots involved in the £7.2 million 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.

Linda, who is based at the University of Lincoln, UK, and named after the city’s Roman roots as Lindum Colonia, will be mingling with visitors to the Museum from 9th to 13th June in the ‘Robots on Patrol’ exhibit.

The event is part of Universities Week 2014 which aims to increase public awareness of the wide and varied role of the UK’s universities.

It will be an opportunity for the research team to showcase the robot, which has already learned to map a building and run for 30 days autonomously.

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.

The robots will eventually be deployed to run for an extended time so they have the chance to develop an understanding of how the world should appear and be able to identify deviations from their normal environment.

Dr Marc Hanheide, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, will be on hand throughout the week to explain Linda’s capabilities.

He said: “The aim is to show members of the public how this sort of technology could help us in our everyday lives, assisting humans in basic activities allowing them to concentrate on more important aspects of their work.

“It’s not just about providing a care home or security robot. We are trying to enable robots to learn from their long-term experience and their perception of how the environment unfolds in time. It will have many possible applications and taking Linda to the Natural History Museum is a fantastic opportunity for people to see how robots like this will, one day, be able to aid and assist humans in a variety of roles.”

The exhibit is just one of a number being hosted by the Natural History Museum as part of Universities Week 2014.

Watch the video here:

Fully-funded PhD scholarship in Human-Robot Collaboration

We have tentatively secured funding for an exciting PhD position (for UK/EU students only I’m afraid) in the area of Robotics. The successful candidate will be pursuing a PhD within the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems (L-CAS) under the supervision of Dr Marc Hanheide and Prof Tom Duckett. The project is about long-term adaptation in human-robot collaboration for manufacturing applications.
The studentship covers all fees, plus a stipend of £15000 per year for a duration of 3.5 years. The position is part of a recent strategic investment by the University of Lincoln, and only projects that recruit strong candidates will actually be funded. So, we need excellent candidates, ideally with a strong background in AI, Robotics, Mathematics, Engineering, or Machine Learning, to apply for this position to turn this funding opportunity into a real project.
If you are excited about human-robot collaboration and its potential to change the way we manufacture, apply by sending a covering letter outlining your interest and proposed approach (up to 1 page A4) with an accompanying CV by close of day on 18th April 2014.
Further details to be found here.