Cat toys, roaster bots and scolding lamps Story-level
the 2023 ACM/IEEE Human-Robot Interaction Conference (HRI) takes place this week in Stockholm, with the theme “HRI for all”. It’s a good theme, promoting diversity and inclusion, but it’s also a good reminder that all robots have (or should have) thought about how they interact with humans. HRI is not just for social robots. Even the most industrial of industrial robots, the kind of off-the-shelf stuff that a human might never see operating unless something is (or is about to be) very, very wrong, still has to be configured and programmed by a human. And those humans are happiest when engineers remember they exist.
Anyway, there will be a lot of interesting research presented at HRI (the proceedings are already online here), but for starters let’s take a look at the annual HRI Student Design Contestwhich is always creative and fun.
The theme of this year’s student design competition is “Affordable Robots”. Student teams are asked to create and describe a scenario with robots/agents that are affordable and have real utility in society. More specifically, we are looking for affordable, impactful, scalable, and reliable use cases with real-world application potential. Since the theme of this year’s conference is “HRI for All”, we also recommend that students think about inclusion and diversity in HRI in terms of geographic inclusion (for both the developed and developing world), gender inclusion , ethnic inclusion, disability, equity, etc. related to this topic.
This combination of “affordable” and “real life utility” is especially challenging, since robots by nature are not affordable at all, and utility (in the sense of functionality that justifies cost) is an elusive goal. , which is why this is exactly the kind of problem you want students to tackle. There are 20 entries this year, and we can only share a few of them, but here are five that we thought were particularly interesting.
Aimoji: An Affordable Interaction Kit That Recycles Used Toys As Companion Robots
When a child wants to talk to a toy, it is usually a one-way interaction, with the child imagining the toy’s responses. Our design allows each toy to have two-way interaction using our low-cost interaction kit. The toy’s reaction is based on a motion sensor that causes the toy to respond to the child through a screen attached to the toy. Through this method, all children can experience human-robot interaction in an affordable way. There can be as many robots as there are toys.
Toubot: a pair of haptic wearable robots that emotionally bond abandoned children and their parents
Children left behind have more mental problems than their urban peers because they have fewer instantaneous emotional interactions with their parents. To solve this, we propose a pair of wearable robots that will strengthen your emotional bond by enhancing instant non-verbal interactions.
Internet of robotic cat toys to deepen the bond and elevate the mood
Pets provide important mental support for humans. Recent advances in robotics and HRI have led to research and commercial products that provide intelligent solutions to enrich the lives of indoor pets. However, most of these products focus on meeting the basic needs of pets, such as feeding and litter cleaning, rather than their mental well-being. In this article we introduce the internet of robotic cat toys, where a group of robotic agents connect to play with our furry friends. Through three iterations, we demonstrated an affordable and flexible design of clip-on robotic agents to transform a static home into an interactive wonderland for pets.
Labo is watching you: a robot that convinces you since the interruption of the smartphone
The endogenous interruptions of smartphones have impacted people’s daily lives in many aspects, especially in the areas of study and work under a lamp. To mitigate this, we created a robot that could inherently persuade you by augmenting your desk lamp with specific poses and light.
Roaster robot: design for utility and enjoyment in the kitchen space
Toasting bread is a seemingly mundane task that people perform on a daily basis, whether in a private kitchen or a soup kitchen. This document introduces a robotic toaster, or “robot toaster”, which is designed with animated movements to enhance the experience of making toast, not only helping to complete the task itself, but also acting as a playful entity with which users can interact.
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