HEATHER KNIGHT ON SOCIAL ROBOTICS
Roboticist Heather Knight brought her friend NAO in to Fahrenheit 212 to show us the future of the burgeoning field of social robotics, which investigates the potential for meaningful social interaction between humans and robots.
As Heather explained how transformational advances in sensory recognition enable robots to become articulate and responsive companions, NAO, a humanoid robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics, walked around our conference table, fell down, picked himself up and, seemingly embarrassed about the fall, cracked a self-deprecating joke.
It’s clear that the future is NAO. The next generation of robots will have personality, elevating the level of human-robot interaction from merely useful to useful and meaningful. Just like Rosie, the Jetson’s housekeeper, the capability for “charismatic communication” will make robots part of the family, with potential applications ranging from health care to education.
Heather, an alumnus from the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab and current doctoral candidate at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute, runs Marilyn Monrobot Labs in New York City, which creates socially intelligent robot performances and sensor-based electronic art. Her work includes robotics and instrumentation at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, interactive installations with Syyn Labs, and field applications and sensor design at Aldebaran Robotics.
Click here to visit Heather Knight’s website.