Developing long-term relations with robots

Apr 13, 2008

Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London are leading an international project which is set to advance the relationship between robots and humans, as part of new European project called LIREC - Living with Robots and Interactive Companions.

LIREC aims to create a new generation of interactive, emotionally intelligent, companion technology, that is capable of long-term engagement with humans – in both a virtual (graphical) world, and in the real-world (as robots). The project will also be the first in the world to examine how we react to a familiar companion entity when it swaps from a robot body into a virtual form, for example on a computer screen.

The Queen Mary team are leading a consortium of nine other internationally leading European partners, who intend to develop and study a variety of robots and other autonomous interactive companions during the four-year project.

Professor Peter McOwan, from Queen Mary’s Department of Computer Science, explained: “We’re interested in how people can develop a long-term relationship with artificial creatures, in everyday settings. You may not be able to find a robot that can help you do the dishes anytime soon, but we’re hoping to explore how such friendly future technology could be developed, and start to predict what the intelligent machines of tomorrow might look like, and how we should treat them.”

LIREC will first look at existing technology to study people’s perceptions of robots. This includes entertainment robots like Pleo, which is an interactive toy dinosaur available commercially; and GlowBots - small wheeled robots that communicate with each other and users through colourful patterns of light.

Other robots will include ‘iCat: the Affective Chess Player’ – a robotic game buddy whose behaviour and expressions are influenced by the state of play; as well as the child-sized minimally expressive humanoid ‘KASPAR’, and ‘peoplebots’, which are enhanced by humanoid features.

LIREC will also look for inspiration in creating synthetic companions from studies of the way that humans and pet dogs bond and interact.

The £6.5m grant involves partners from seven countries and will run for four and a half years. The project kicks off on 17/18 April when the research partners convene for the first time.

Source: Queen Mary, University of London

Explore further: Study: Digital content makes teens feel good about themselves

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Designing robots that can keep secrets

Mar 05, 2014

Humanoid robots are not just the stuff of science fiction: these computing devices are likely to be walking around our streets in the next decade.

Robot does standup for London audience (w/ Video)

Aug 17, 2013

(Phys.org) —Robots as military gear haulers? Got it. Assembly line handlers? Got it. Waiters for the elderly? Check. Stand-up comics? Huh? A new role for robots may be trending, with the recent performance ...

'Rock Vibe' brings electronic music game to blind

Feb 23, 2012

Bridging a divide between sighted and blind gamers, University of California, Santa Cruz graduate Rupa Dhillon has created a version of the musical rhythm "Rock Band" game that everyone can play.

Recommended for you

Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves?

7 hours ago

Ana Redmond launched into a technology career for an exciting challenge and a chance to change the world. She was well-equipped to succeed too: An ambitious math and science wiz, she could code faster, with fewer errors, ...

Reliance on smartphones linked to lazy thinking

Mar 05, 2015

Our smartphones help us find a phone number quickly, provide us with instant directions and recommend restaurants, but new research indicates that this convenience at our fingertips is making it easy for us to avoid thinking ...

Five stunners from the Geneva car show

Mar 04, 2015

Forget driverless cars, electric power or even green technology. There is no doubt what visitors are coming to see at the glamorous Geneva motor show: supercars.

Cash could be phased out within a decade, says expert

Mar 03, 2015

The rise of electronic currency will lead to the phasing out of physical cash in Australia within a decade, according to Professor Rabee Tourky, Director of the Australian National University (ANU) Research ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.