Another interesting author on social robotics is Marcel Heerinkk, who works at the HvA, Instituut voor Information Engineering. He has been doing PhD work on robotics and elderly people. Practically all his publications are together with three UvA people: Ben Kröse (IS lab), Bob Wielinga, and Vanessa Evers (both HCS lab). Kröse is also lector at the HvA, lectorate Digital Life. They have done research with iCat.
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Another strong author on robotics in the Netherlands is Christoph Bartneck. He works at the TU/e, faculty of Industrial Design, sub-department Designed Intelligence (which is only slightly less scary than intelligent design). His list of publications on robotics is very impressive. Recently, there are a couple together with Mathias Rauterberg, the prof who heads the DI group, but these are not specifically about robots.
Through his publications, I found out there is a conference called ACM/IEEE international conference on Human robot interaction (yearly since 2006). Proceedings here. Quite a lot of interesting papers there.
Here is Albert van Breemen’s final movie of the i-Qbot:
Some people on forums are complaining about the i-Qbot: it appears to be quite hard to program and it doesn’t do much on its own. Van Breemen emphasizes the great learning experience. Looking at the ‘end result video’, I can imagine both views.
There is a very good dutch blogger, called Albert van Breemen, on http://www.personalrobotics.nl/. I got to him when I was checking out the i-QBOT, which he reviewed extensively.
From his About: Albert van Breemen is a Senior Projectleader at Philips Research Laboratories Eindhoven, The Netherlands. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Twente (Enschede, The Netherlands). His thesis describes an agent-based software architecture for integrating multiple control algorithms into an overall well performing system and it has been applied to systems such as room thermostats and mobile robots. In 2001 he started working at Philips Research where he has been active for almost 5 years in the field of Ambient Intelligence. He is the motivator behind the robotic research activities at Philips Research and he is a pioneer on robot middleware architectures and human-robot interaction research. In 2004 he initiated the development of the iCat user-interface robot, which he turned into a commercial product one year later. The iCat user-interface robot is sold to universities and research laboratories in order to stimulate human-robot interaction research. His current focus is on setting up a worldwide iCat Research Community and preparing the development of a robotic consumer product. In 2005 Time Magazine labelled the iCat as one of “The Coolest Inventions”. From 2004 till 2006 Albert van Breemen helped establishing the EUropean Robotics Platform (EUROP) and he did hold the Service Robotics chair within the Executive Board of EUROP.
iCat appears to be developed right here in the Netherlands. At least I saw that Cristoph Bartneck (TUe) and Philips Research mentioned. Bartneck has a whole bunch of interesting papers on social robotics, so I decided to email him about it.
Here is a really nice robot with eyes that actually allow you to see where he is looking! Quite good, I definitely would put that sort of thing in a robot.
Quite a few people find this robot scary, by the way. Would it be the same as with how a robot looks: appreciation rises if it more human until it suddenly falls when it becomes too human?
Besides the eyes, there is also some facial expression even if it is only through opening and closing of the eyes.
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