Advancements in Assistive Robotics: A Dialogue for Progress

On 11th of June 2024, the IEAI hosted an in-person panel discussion titled ‘Advancements in Assistive Robotics: A Dialogue for Progress’ at Marsstraße 20. Auxane Boch, research associate from the TUM IEAI, served as moderator to the speakers: Katrin Schulleri (TUM) and Prof. Patrick C. K. Hung (Ontario Tech University).

The evening began with Ms. Schulleri. Her presentation entitled: ‘Factors Facilitating Human Balance Control: The Role of Body Representations and (Bio-) Feedback’, delved into the role of high-order body representations as internal factors in balance control. In her talk, Ms. Schulleri addressed external factors, such as the role of relative characteristics of a person another haptically interacts with (i.e. age, anthropometry, body sway) as well as the type of interaction partner (responsive vs. non-responsive; attractive vs. repulsive) during human-human and human-robot tactile interaction. Finally, she discussed the effectivity and demands that vibrotactile biofeedback imposes upon the user depending on explicit directional response instructions.

The floor was then handed over to Prof. Hung, who presented on ‘From Anthropomorphic to Zoomorphic Social Robots: Our Experiences’. He began by looking at examples of social robots and their human-robot interaction (HRI). Next, Prof. Hung introduced Zenbo, a robot that was used on three different continents, studying the impact of culture, as well as concerns such as privacy and ethics on HRI. Prof. Hung then focused on a study on robotics and guide dogs. Based on his findings, Prof. Hung and his research team designed and built a robotic dog named Brando, with a mechanical tail to express emotion. Prof. Hung ended his talk presenting his latest research findings about the potential implementation of tiger robots to alleviate monkey – human conflict in Malaysia.

Robots should understand the culture. Otherwise, how can robots live with people? – Patrick C. K. Hung

After the speakers´ presentations, Auxane Boch shared her insightful reflections on the key points raised and opened the floor for questions and discussion.

The recording of Prof. Hung’s presentation can be found here.