The premier international conference for Human Robot Interaction was held in Vienna, Austria this March. Amrita University’s Dr. Alexander Muir was invited to be a reviewer, and also attended the conference. The keynote speakers were top tier leaders in the field of #HRI including Social Robotics pioneer Cynthia Braezeal. Many social robots were demo’d, including Baxter and FurHat. Dr Alexander also had warm conversations with researchers from top universities including Cambridge and Tel Aviv, who are interested in potential collaborations.
Over the last two years at AMMACHI Labs and Amrita University, we have been growing the discipline of Human Robot Interaction, and conducted multiple field studies with rural people in India, with an eye to making sure that future robots in India are suitably easy to use. Our current S4 MTech students are producing some innovative projects to empower humanitarian applications of robotics.
The location of the conference was beautiful: Vienna is a highly cultural city with a flamboyant sense of decoration that is, in its own way, a little similar to India. The conference hall itself had a fully painted ceiling showing heavenly beings enlightening the participants. Robotics is modern, but the wish to better the world through science and art is enduring.
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