Keynotes

This year’s ICSR will feature the following keynote speakers:

Giulio Sandini

Title: The Role of Imagination in Social Robotics

Abstract: The use of mathematical models to describe human perceptual and motor functions has a very long and successful history. On the other hand, the design and implementation of embodied biomimetic artificial systems to investigate human multisensory integration and cognitive abilities is a more recent effort. This effort, to some degree, struggles to move beyond a superficial, technology-driven, morphological-based approach. Despite its inherent technological and engineering value, what emerges is a fragmented collection of individual functions that overlooks the opportunity to leverage the origin and timeframe of human adaptive abilities, including the role and complementary contribution of evolutionary, epigenetic, developmental and learning processes.
Given these observations, my presentation will concentrate on the necessity for a more convergent approach. This approach would be based on a common cognitive architecture that serves as a reference point, directing the use of robots to enhance our understanding of the mechanisms underlying our ability to predict our own actions and those of others – a crucial capability for social robots. In this context, I will discuss the dual function of social robots as physical representations of biological systems and as experimental platforms for exploring facets of social interactions, such as the kinematic and dynamic markers of motor contagion, attention, turn-taking, vitality forms, and emotions.

Short bio: Giulio Sandini is a Founding Director of the Italian Institute of Technology where in 2006 he established the department of Robotics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences. As a research fellow and Assistant Professor at the Scuola Normale in Pisa and Visiting Researcher at the Neurology Department of the Harvard Medical School he investigated visual perception and sensorimotor coordination in humans and technologies for Brain Activity Mapping in children with learning disabilities. As a professor of bioengineering at the University of Genova in 1990 he founded the LIRA-Lab (Laboratory for Integrated Advanced Robotics) which was to become the birthplace of the iCub humanoid robot. In 1996 he was Visiting Scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab of MIT.
Giulio Sandini research activity is characterized by an engineering approach to the study of natural intelligent systems with a focus on the design and implementation of artificial systems to investigate the development of human perceptual, motor and cognitive abilities (and viceversa).

Takayuki Kanda

Title: Moral Interaction with Social Robots

Abstract: Social robots are coming to appear in our daily lives, started to equipped with various basic functionality. However, we notice that current social robots still lack one of the basic interaction capability, that is, one for “moral interaction”. I plan to talk about the background of research works as well as ongoing work related to moral interaction. We have developed a human-like social robot, Robovie, and studied the way to make it serve for people in public space, such as a shopping mall. We studied various human-robot interaction in the real-world. Here, we faced with many of difficulties. For instance, the robot failed to initiate interaction with a person, and it failed to coordinate with environments, like causing a congestion around it. Toward these problems, we have modeled various human interaction. Such models enabled the robot to better serve for individuals, and also enabled it to understand people’s crowd behavior, like congestion around the robot; however, it invited another new problem, robot abuse. We notice that the social robots today still need to be improved for their capability to acquire better peer-respect and to provide better peer-pressure.

Short bio: Takayuki Kanda is a professor in Informatics at Kyoto University, Japan. He is also a Visiting Group Leader at ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, Kyoto, Japan. He received his B. Eng, M. Eng, and Ph. D. degrees in computer science from Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, in 1998, 2000, and 2003, respectively. He is one of the starting members of Communication Robots project at ATR. He has developed a communication robot, Robovie, and applied it in daily situations, such as peer-tutor at elementary school and a museum exhibit guide. His research interests include human-robot interaction, interactive humanoid robots, and field trials.

Wendy Ju


Short bio: Wendy Ju is an Associate Professor of Information Science at Cornell University. She is also an inaugural faculty member of Cornell’s new campus-wide multidisciplinary Design Tech department, and an Associate Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, and has a secondary affiliation in the faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at Technion-Israel. Her work in the areas of human-robot interaction and automated vehicle interfaces highlights the ways that interactive devices can communicate and engage people without interrupting or intruding. Her current research focus is on everyday urban interaction. Professor Ju has innovated numerous methods for early-stage prototyping of automated systems to understand how people will respond to systems before the systems are built. She has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford, and a Master’s in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT. Her monograph on The Design of Implicit Interactions was published in 2015.