Watch Robots Play Part in Treatment for People With Special Needs on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.
"Notre Dame psychology professors use a robot built in France by Aldebaran Robotics as a tool to encourage children with autism, who may struggle just to engage in simple conversation. According to the Autism Society, 1 percent of American children ages three to 17 have an autism spectrum disorder."
Related link: PBS NewsHour
I can't be everywhere at once, but there are certainly times when I wish I could. Next week, on May 21st, SWISSNEX is staging a Robots and Humans event in San Francisco I would really like to attend:
Oussama Khatib, from the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford University, presents new concepts for safe, dependable, and competent robots including design, novel sensing modalities, efficient planning and control strategies, methods for modeling human motion and skills, and other requirements. These developments are providing exciting prospects for novel clinical therapies, athletic training, and performance improvement.
Aude Billard leads the Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). She shares recent advances in the development of robust algorithms to enable robots to learn by imitating humans as well as examples of applications for flexible manipulation and quick adaptation, such as catching an object that is just starting to fall.
I just added John Long's new book, "Darwin's Devices" to my reading list. Long serves as the director of Vassar College's Interdisciplinary Robotics Research Laboratory and is also a professor at the same institution focusing on cognitive science and biology.
Surfing the web, I ran across some recommendations and reviews of Long's book, and the subtitle, "What Evolving Robots Can Teach Us About the History of Life and the Future of Technology", immediately caught my attention.
Long's unique approach has been described as:
… he creates robots that look and behave like extinct animals, subjects them to evolutionary pressures, lets them compete for mates and resources, and mutates their ‘genes’. In short, he lets robots play the game of life.
Here's the author being interviewed about his new book:
I had the great opportunity to meet many of the Aldebaran NAO Robot Development Program participants in Paris last weekend when I was asked to be on the jury rating all of the projects they submitted during the codathon. The work that they're doing is innovative and often surprising, so it would be hard to single out anyone's project as being outstanding or extremely unique. Nevertheless, there were some projects that I want to talk about in upcoming posts because I feel they may interest and hopefully inspire my readers.
A good example is "Play With Red Ball", the Spring 2012 NAO Developer Days project developed by Franck Calzada. The concept seems simple enough - just have your humanoid robot bend over, reach out with its hand, and pickup a red ball. However, in the real world that sequence that you and I as human beings take for granted, is extremely complex.
’NAO Robot Wizards: Franck Calzada’ continues
I have to admit that when I attended the University of Tokyo/Aldebaran Robotics press conference a while back I was pretty skeptical. Bringing French humanoid robots to Japan, especially introducing them into one of the leading Japanese research organizations, was a little like "carrying coals to Newcastle." What would the Japanese do with the cute NAO robots that they couldn't do with domestic humanoids?
It turns out, as you can see from the video below, I didn't have to worry. Researchers at the JSK Lab have been able to accomplish some truly amazing work, including somethings that are totally beyond my limited imagination.
The Aldebaran NAO and ROMEO humanoid robots were featured on television, including interviews with some of the key Aldebaran management team.
For those already familiar with the NAO robot, the program doesn't really present anything new or exciting. It does, however, include some good close-up views of ROMEO - the company's life-sized/person-sized humanoid development project.