27 June 2017

Colloquium 5 - 2016/2017

Making and Experimenting with Furry Robots with Feelings

Professor Karon MacLean will talk about the role of touch in human-robot interaction. 


  • When: June 27, 13:30
  • Location: Janskerkhof 2-3, room 019 (downtown campus)
  • Speaker: Prof. Karon MacLean, University of British Columbia, department of Computer Science

About the talk

Touch has a major role to play in human-robot interaction. Here, advances in tactile sensing, wearable and context-aware computing as well as robotics more broadly are spurring new ideas about  how to configure the human-robot relationship in terms of roles and utility, which in turn expose new technical and social design questions.
This talk will focus on my group’s recent work on haptic or physical human-robot interaction, where we aim to bring effective haptic interaction into people's lives by examining how touch (in either direction) can help address human needs with the benefit of both low- and high-tech innovation. I will give a sense of these efforts from three perspectives, each involving significant technical and evaluative design challenges: sensing and interpreting emotive touch, designing expressive robot bodies and behaviours, and creating evaluative scenarios where participants experience genuine - and changing - emotions as they interact with our robots.

About the speaker

Karon MacLean is Professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, Canada, with a B.Sc. in Biology and Mech. Eng. (Stanford) and a M.Sc. and Ph.D. (Mech. Eng., MIT)  and time spent as professional robotics engineer (Center for Engineering Design, University of Utah) and interaction researcher (Interval Research, Palo Alto). At UBC since 2000, her research specializes in haptic interaction: cognitive, sensory and affective design for people interacting with the computation we touch, emote and move with, whether robots, touchscreens or mobile activity sensors. Special Advisor on Knowledge Mobilization to UBC Faculty of Science; Charles A. McDowell Award, 2008; Assoc Editor of  IEEE Transactions on Haptics; co-chair of the 2010 and 2012 IEEE Haptics Symposium; Director of UBC’s pan-university Designing for People Research Cluster.