Sunday, May 2, 2010

Talking robots and AI

Martin Hägele - The European Robotics Market

Talking Robots - Martin Hägele on the European Robotics Market
Martin Hägele, who is the head of the Robot Systems Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, Germany. He presents the current landscape and trends in the European robotics market.

In 1993, inspired by the book Robots in Service, he led a study on the market potentials and challenges of service robots. He was the project lead and supervisor of numerous service robot developments including a fuel-refilling robot resulting in a fully operational gas station and several generations of mobile robots developed for museums, shopping centers and home applications (Care-o-bot). Hägele coordinated numerous publicly-funded research projects to develop robot technologies for industrial and service applications. He is currently leader of a large-scale European initiative for the creation of a new family of Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME)-suitable robots. He is also active in the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in the European Robotics Network (EURON), and the European Robotics Platform (EUROP).

For more facts and figures, check out the the annual yearbook/statistical framework on industrial and service robots, the WORLD ROBOTICS 2006:
  • - Total world-wide sales of industrial robots in 2005: 126,700 units, up 30% on 2004; in Europe: ~30.000 (down 2% on 2004)
  • - World total stock of operational industrial robots: 923,000 units, 9% greater than 2004; in Europe: ~300.000 (7% up from 2004)
  • - In Europe some 60% of the robot installations are concentrated on the automotive industry.

Talking Robots - Roger Quinn on Insect-like Locomotion
Roger Quinn, who is the director of the Biologically Inspired Robotics Lab at Case Western Reserve University. Using data from biological organisms such as the Deathhead Cockroach and crickets, he creates robots which efficiently move like insects or serve as models for understanding the dynamics of biological systems.

Starting off with the more complex insect-robot locomotion in the Micro-Crickets, Cockroaches and BILL-Ants he went on to developing more abstract forms of locomotion with the Whegs™ (wheel/leg) series. If you're looking for a robot that can climb up glass, run over difficult terrain, jump or even fly, the Whegs™ robot series might just be what you need.
Roger Quinn - Insect-like robots

Daniel Wilson - How to Survive a Robot Uprising

Talking Robots - Daniel Wilson on How to Survive a Robot  Uprising?
Daniel Wilson about his Rave Award winning book on "How to Survive A Robot Uprising". With his humor in pocket, Daniel walks us through the worst Sci-Fi and Hollywood robot attacks. Luckily, his PhD in robotics and army of CMU colleagues are full of resources when it comes to detecting the weak points of their robot protégés.
He is also the author of "Where's My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived" and is currently working on the sequel to Robot Uprising, titled "How to Build a Robot Army: Tips on Defending Planet Earth Against Alien Invaders, Ninjas, and Zombies."

Daniel Wilson has also worked in top research laboratories, including Microsoft Research, the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and Intel Research Seattle.

David Hanson - Human-like Social Robots

Talking Robot - David Hanson on human-like Social Robots
David Hanson about Human-like social robots. If you fancy a tea with Einstein or a Sci Fi discussion with Philip K. Dick, he might be able to provide you with some interesting look-alikes. Using his patented Frubber™ skin like material and artistic background he has been sculpting robots which look like humans and interact with them through speech, facial expressions, eye movements and body motions. With his artistic style and vision, he presents his view on the uncanny valley and the ethics of human like robots.

In 2003 David Hanson founded Hanson Robotics in order to pursue the commercialization of socialized robotic characters and their constituent technologies. Hanson robotics′ interests lie in areas of art, robotics, AI, material science, cognitive science, and industry.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi - Embodied Cognition

Talking Robot - Yasuo Kuniyoshi on Embodied Cognition

Yasuo Kuniyoshi about embodied cognition. For the past ten years he has been working on demonstrating that cognition is not dissociable from body-environment interactions. By confronting his human size humanoids to their environment he proves that lifting heavy objects or performing some acrobatic moves become a piece of cake. When augmented with a pinch of chaos theory and a baby size humanoid, Yasou Kuniyoshi attempts to show us that embodied cognition might explain a lot about the way babies move and develop.

Yasuo Kuniyoshi is professor at the University of Tokyo and the head of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems and Informatics (ISI). His research interests include emergence and development of embodied cognition, human action understanding systems, and humanoid robots. He is the author of over 200 technical publications, editorials and books and is a member of IEEE, Robotics Society of Japan, Japan Society for Artificial Intelligence, Japanese Society of Baby Science, and other societies.

Dario Floreano - Evolutionary Robotics

Talking Robot - Dario Floreano on Evolutionary Robotics

Dario Floreano about evolutionary robotics. From evolution to learning and from single robots to swarm systems, he presents how evolutionary robotics can be used to understand biological systems and design efficient control for robots.

Dario Floreano is a professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland and the head of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS). He is well known for his pioneering role in the field of Evolutionary Robotics. He has made significant contributions to the fields of Artificial Neural Systems, Artificial Life, Evolutionary Computation, Swarm Robotics, and Biomimetic Electronics.

His goal is to understand and replicate the principles that allow living and artificial systems to self-organize, adapt, and remain operational in changing and unknown environments using a systemic approach that integrates hardware and software. His current projects include the areas of evolutionary robotics and electronics, bio-mimetic engineering, biology reverse engineering, and computational intelligence (evolutionary systems, neural networks, swarm intelligence).

Rodney Brooks - The Past and Future of Behavior Based Robotics

Talking Robot - Rodney Brooks on the past and future of behavior  based robotics

Rodney Brooks on behavior based robotics. He talks about how mosquitoes in Thailand caused a fundamental shift in artificial intelligence, how to build robots that sell, and how 50 years from now you'll be fighting with your robot for spare parts.

Rodney Brooks is Director of MIT's Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and Panasonic Professor of Robotics. He is also Chief Technical Officer of iRobot Corp (nasdaq: IRBT), which is producing the extremely successful Roomba vacuum cleaner robots, the well known PackBot military robots and, most recently, the Verro pool cleaning robots.

Rod Brook's work has been very influential and led to a fundamental shift in research in artificial intelligence. He has argued strongly against symbolic processing approaches to creating intelligent machines and instead stressed the importance of interactions with the physical world. He has published papers and books in many different fields, ranging from computer vision to planetary exploration and compiler design. He has also starred as himself in the Errol Morris movie "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control", named for one of his scientific papers.

His current projects include work on a number of humanoid robots, including the anthropomorphic Cog and the highly mobile humanoid Coco.

Laurent Keller - Robots and Biology

Talking Robot - Laurent Keller on using robots to understand  Biology

Laurent Keller on his experience with robots, on the advantages of using robots rather than theoretical models and computer simulations, and on whether we should build artificial animals.

Laurent Keller is a professor of Evolutionary Ecology and head of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He is a leading expert on the evolution of social insects and has published more than 160 articles in peer-reviewed journals on topics including aging, genomics, kin recognition, sex ratios, cooperation, altruism, and communication. During the last six years he has explored the use of robots as a tool for biological research in a collaboration with the Laboratory of Intelligent systems at the EPFL.

His goal is to understand the principles governing the evolution of animal societies and the ecological and evolutionary consequences of social life. To study these questions he combines the disciplines of animal behavior, ecology, evolutionary genetics and genomics as well as robotics.

Jun Tani - Cognitive Robotics

Talking Robot Podcast - Jun Tani on Robot Cognition

Jun Tani, who is a team leader at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, about his research in robot cognition and robot consciousness, meta-level cognition, and on his interest in building schizophrenic robots.

Jun Tani has studied robot learning using theoretical models of complex adaptive systems and neural networks for more than 15 years. He has worked for the Sony Computer Science Lab and has been a visiting associate professor at the University of Tokyo from 1997 to 2002. Since 2000, Jun Tani has been leading the Laboratory for Behavior and Dynamic Cognition, at the Brain Science Institute, at RIKEN close to Tokyo. He is well known for his research in robot cognition and robot consciousness.

His research interests include phenomenological problems of self-consciousness and embodied cognition. Six years ago, he started neuroscience studies on behavior learning processes in real brains, utilizing both, human brain imaging and animal electrophysiology. His vision is to establish a new research field, brain-inspired robotics, by integrating these approaches.

Auke Ijspeert - Salamander robot swims and walks

Talking Robot - Auke Ijspeert explains his amphibious salamander  robot

Auke Ijspeert on his amphibious salamander robot. He explains how central pattern generators are a powerful tool to link simple high-level commands to complex patterns of locomotion including gait changes, and how they are used in his robot.

Auke Ijspeert is an assistant professor at the EPFL and head of the Biologically Inspired Robotics Group (BIRG). He is very well known for his work on central pattern generators and their use in robot control. His research interests are at the intersection between robotics, computational neuroscience, nonlinear dynamical systems, and machine learning. His goal is to study the neural mechanisms underlying movement control and learning in animals and to develop robots capable of agile locomotion in complex environments.

His current research projects span theoretical approaches to sensorimotor coordination, biological modeling of lamprey and salamander locomotion and robotic implementations in robot fish, snakes, salamanders and humanoids.

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