“Multisensory Perception of Soft Objects”, Dr Massimiliano Di Luca

On Wednesday 3rd June 2015, Dr Massimiliano Di Luca from the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, will give a research seminar in the School of Computer Science. Everyone is welcome!

When: Wednesday 3rd June 2015 @ 4:00pm
Where: MC0024, MHT Building


Title: Multisensory Perception of Soft Objects

Softness is the subjective impression of the physical deformability of an object. When we interact with a deformable object like a pillow, sensory signals from multiple sense modalities provide information related to its compressibility (i.e. proprioceptive position, tactile force, visual deformation). Such signals dynamically depend on the way we interact with the object. Our brain has specialised mechanisms that processes this information to create a coherent perceptual representation of the compressibility of the object and to adjust motor actions accordingly. In this work I will present psychophysical experiments that employ visual-haptic virtual reality setups to investigate how we perceive the compressibility of an object while we squeeze it or while we press against its surface. The results of these studies form the basis of a computational model of softness perception where signals are combined into perceptual estimates that are then integrated according to the rules of Bayesian inference.

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.