Friday, April 11, 2008

Cynthia Breazeal - Personal Robots

Talking Robots: Cynthia Breazeal - Personal Robots In this episode of Talking Robots we interview Cynthia Breazeal who is an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA, where she founded and directs the Personal Robots Group at the Media Lab.

With her creaturoids, animoids, humanoids and robotized objects, Breazeal has been working to make robots and humans team up in a human-centric way, work together as peers, and learn from one another.

Hollywood understood a long while back that for robots such as those in I, Robot, Star Wars or A.I. to be compelling and understandable to the public, robots had to interact with humans in a way which produces behaviors, feeling and expressions intuitive for the everyday movie monger. The step from "shedding a tear" for A.I.'s robot boy to genuinely connecting to a real autonomous robot is finally being made thanks to Breazeal's work on personal robots such as the very expressive Kismet humanoid (video below), the Huggable™ robot teddy and Leonardo the social creature.

In the end, designing robots which can socially interact with humans will most likely result in the better understanding of what it is to be human. And, until personal robots are ready to enter our homes and assist us in our everyday tasks, maybe we can start by being friends with the MDS humanoid (video below)?



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