Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Living in a robot world

Artists and researchers with the robots
Ever wondered what it would be like to live with robots?

Well perhaps one day in the future, we all will. Our grandchildren will probably grow up with household robots that do all the chores, pet robots that will bring back the ball when you throw it and, as they grow older, robot companions and helpers for their aging years who will care for and help them.

But last week, two intrepid artists spent a week staying in the University of Hertfordshire’s Robot House – living and interacting with the various robots that work in the house whilst creating their own artistic interpretation.

Artists Anna Dumitriu and Alex May have been collaborating with University researchers, Professor Kerstin Dautenhahn and Michael Walters, to investigate social robotics and public reactions to robots as human companions.

Say hello to HARRi
Their artistic project investigates what kinds of robot companions do we, as a society, want? In August 2012 they were awarded funding by the Arts Council England to develop a new robot HARRi (Humanoid Artistic Research Robot).

Read about Anna and Alex's week-long experiences on their blog.

They became real-life guinea-pigs for the University’s Adaptive Systems Research Group as they tested the robots which are part of the ACCOMPANY (Acceptable robotiCs COMPanions for AgeiNg Years) EU project.

With sensors all around the house, the caring robots kept an eye on their new house mates - alerting them when the door bell rang, the kettle boiled, the fridge was left open or even knowing when they went to the bathroom or went to bed!

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