Past Events

Date/Time Event Description
29 Oct – 31 Oct 2018
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Conference on Robot Learning (CoRL 2018) CoRL 2018 will take place on October 29-31 2018 in Zurich. The conference focuses on the intersection of robotics and machine learning. CoRL aims at being a selective, top-tier venue...
15 Jun – 16 Jun 2017
All Day
Building Bodies for Brains & Brains for Bodies & 3rd Japan-EU Workshop on Neurorobotics
Geneva, Geneva
Building Bodies for Brains & Brains for Bodies & 3rd Japan-EU Workshop on Neurorobotics Registration for both events now open.
4 Nov 2016
3:15 pm – 4:15 pm
Talk: Designing and Controlling Robots for Direct Interaction with Humans by Prof. Alin Albu-Schaeffer, German Aerospace Center, Germany.
ETH Zurich, HG G3, Zurich
9 Oct – 12 Oct 2016
All Day
WORKSHOP ON BRAIN-MACHINE INTERFACES (SMC 2016)
Intercontinental Hotel, BUDAPEST, 1052 Budapest
Please see: https://documents.epfl.ch/users/c/ch/chavarri/www/IEEESMC2016_BMI/BMI-IEEESMC2016.html
Dr. Wafa Johal Postdoctoral Researcher Other, EPFL Funding: Directly wafa.johal@epfl.ch +41 21 693 26 11
Boris Gromov Doctoral Student IDSIA, IDSIA Funding: Matching funds boris@idsia.ch +41 58 666 67 12
Ayberk Özgür Doctoral Student Other, EPFL Funding: Matching funds ayberk.ozgur@epfl.ch +41 21 693 29 83
Stefan Schrade Doctoral Student Other, ETH Zurich Funding: - stefan.schrade@hest.ethz.ch +41 44 510 72 31

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Keep on Moving! Exploring Anthropomorphic Effects of Motion during Idle Moments

  • Authors: Asselborn, Thibault Lucien Christian; Johal, Wafa; Dillenbourg, Pierre

In this paper, we explored the effect of a robot’s subconscious gestures made during moments when idle (also called adaptor gestures) on anthropomorphic perceptions of five year old children. We developed and sorted a set of adaptor motions based on their intensity. We designed an experiment involving 20 children, in which they played a memory game with two robots. During moments of idleness, the first robot showed adaptor movements, while the second robot moved its head following basic face tracking. Results showed that the children perceived the robot displaying adaptor movements to be more human and friendly. Moreover, these traits were found to be proportional to the intensity of the adaptor movements. For the range of intensities tested, it was also found that adaptor movements were not disruptive towards the task. These findings corroborate the fact that adaptor movements improve the affective aspect of child-robot interactions (CRI) and do not interfere with the child’s performances in the task, making them suitable for CRI in educational contexts.

Posted on: September 19, 2017

Lessons Learned from Robotic Vacuum Cleaners Entering in the Home Ecosystem

  • Authors: Vaussard, Florian Christopher; Fink, Julia; Bauwens, Valérie; Rétornaz, Philippe; Hamel, David; Dillenbourg, Pierre; Mondada, Francesco

This article considers the suitability of current robots designed to assist humans in accomplishing their daily domestic tasks. With several million units sold worldwide, robotic vacuum cleaners are currently the figurehead in this field. As such, we will use them to investigate the following key question: How does a service cleaning robot performs in a real household? One must consider not just how well a robot accomplishes its task, but also how well it integrates inside the user’s space and perception. We took a holistic approach to addressing these topics by combining two studies in order to build a common ground. In the first of these studies, we analyzed a sample of seven robots to identify the influence of key technologies, like the navigation system, on technical performance. In the second study, we conducted an ethnographic study within nine households to identify users’ needs. This innovative approach enables us to recommend a number of concrete improvements aimed at fulfilling users’ needs by leveraging current technologies to reach new possibilities.

Posted on: June 28, 2013

Lessons learned from robotic vacuum cleaners entering the home ecosystem

  • Authors: Vaussard, F.; Fink, J.; Bauwens, V.; Retornaz, P.; Hamel, D.; Dillenbourg, P.; Mondada, F.

This article considers the suitability of current robots designed to assist humans in accomplishing their daily domestic tasks. With several million units sold worldwide, robotic vacuum cleaners are currently the figurehead in this field. As such, we will use them to investigate the following key question: How does a service cleaning robot perform in a real household? One must consider not just how well a robot accomplishes its task, but also how well it integrates inside the user’s space and perception. We took a holistic approach to addressing these topics by combining two studies in order to build a common ground. In the first of these studies, we analyzed a sample of seven robots to identify the influence of key technologies, such as the navigation system, on technical performance. In the second study, we conducted an ethnographic study within nine households to identify users’ needs. This innovative approach enables us to recommend a number of concrete improvements aimed at fulfilling users’ needs by leveraging current technologies to reach new possibilities. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Posted on: May 2, 2014

Living With a Vacuum Cleaning Robot – A 6-month Ethnographic Study

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Bauwens, Valérie; Kaplan, Frédéric; Dillenbourg, Pierre

Little is known about the usage, adoption process and long-term effects of domestic service robots in people’s homes. We investigated the usage, acceptance and process of adoption of a vacuum cleaning robot in nine households by means of a six month ethnographic study. Our major goals were to explore how the robot was used and integrated into daily practices, whether it was adopted in a durable way, and how it impacted its environment. We studied people’s perception of the robot and how it evolved over time, kept track of daily routines, the usage patterns of cleaning tools, and social activities related to the robot. We integrated our results in an existing framework for domestic robot adoption and outlined similarities and differences to it. Finally, we identified several factors that promote or hinder the process of adopting a domestic service robot and make suggestions to further improve human-robot interactions and the design of functional home robots toward long-term acceptance.

Posted on: May 2, 2013

Motivating Children to Tidy up their Toys with a Robotic Box

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Vaussard, Florian Christopher; Rétornaz, Philippe; Berthoud, Alain; Wille, Florian; Mondada, Francesco; Dillenbourg, Pierre

The poster presents the evaluation of our prototype, called “Ranger”, which is a robotic box that aims to motivate young children to tidy up their room. The robot was tested in 14 families with 31 children (2-10 years) using the Wizard-of-Oz technique. We found that the way in which children interacted with the robotic box was impacted by how active it behaved. Significantly more toys were put in the box in the passive robot condition compared to children’s more playful and explorative behavior in the active robot condition. Our results hold important implications for the design of interactive robots for children.

Posted on: March 13, 2013

Online Modulation of the Level of Assistance in Shared Control Systems

  • Authors: Carlson, Tom; Leeb, Robert; Chavarriaga, Ricardo; Millán, José del R.

In this paper we propose a method to modulate the level of assistance provided by a shared controller, not only given the environmental context, but also according to the context of the user’s current behaviour. We show that the enhanced situational context can be adequately captured by using online performance metrics (such as those more usually found in the evaluation of shared control systems). The resultant controller not only allows the user to perform better in the primary task (like many shared control systems), but has also has increased the level of user acceptance, due to the personalised dynamics of the control policy.

Posted on: August 15, 2012

People"s Perception of Domestic Service Robots: Same Household, Same Opinion?

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Bauwens, Valérie; Mubin, Omar; Kaplan, Frédéric; Dillenbourg, Pierre

The study presented in this paper examined people’s perception of domestic service robots by means of an ethnographic study. We investigated initial reactions of nine households who lived with a Roomba vacuum cleaner robot over a two week period. To explore people’s attitude and how it changed over time, we used a recurring questionnaire that was filled at three different times, integrated in 18 semi-structured qualitative interviews. Our findings suggest that being part of a specific household has an impact how each individual household member perceives the robot. We interpret that, even though individual experiences with the robot might differ from one other, a household shares a specific opinion about the robot. Moreover our findings also indicate that how people perceived Roomba did not change drastically over the two week period.

Posted on: November 28, 2011

Permanent Magnet-Assisted Omnidirectional Ball Drive

  • Authors: Ozgur, Ayberk; Johal, Wafa; Dillenbourg, Pierre

We present an omnidirectional ball wheel drive design that utilizes a permanent magnet as the drive roller to generate the contact force. Particularly interesting for novel human-mobile robot interaction scenarios where the users are expected to physically interact with many palm-sized robots, our design combines simplicity, low cost and compactness. We first detail our design and explain its key parameters. Then, we present our implementation and compare it with an omniwheel drive built with identical conditions and similar cost. Finally, we elaborate on the main advantages and drawbacks of our design.

Posted on: August 2, 2016

Ranger, an Example of Integration of Robotics into the Home Ecosystem

  • Authors: Mondada, Francesco; Fink, Julia; Lemaignan, Séverin; Mansolino, David; Wille, Florian; Franinović, Karmen

This paper presents the concept and an example of robject, a robotic entity embedded in an everyday object. Robjects use the affordance of the original object to ensure an efficient interaction and a high acceptance. The example of the ranger robot shows that this approach can be applied to the domestic environment. We explore the integration of a robot (robject) into a family household, by regarding the home as a ecosystem, which consists of people, parts, products, activities, and interactions. A test of the ranger robot in families validates this holistic approach and shows the impact of this type of design in respect to the complexity of the robotic system.

Posted on: September 3, 2014

Roomba is not a Robot; AIBO is still Alive! Anthropomorphic Language in Online Forums

  • Authors: Fink, Julia; Mubin, Omar; Kaplan, Frédéric; Dillenbourg, Pierre

Anthropomorphism describes people’s tendency to ascribe humanlike qualities to non-human artifacts, such as robots. We investigated anthropomorphic language in 750 posts of online forums about the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, the AIBO robotic dog and the iPad tablet computer. Results of this content analysis suggest a significant difference for anthropomorphic language usage among the three technologies. In contrast to Roomba and iPad, the specific characteristics of the robotic dog enhanced a more social interaction and lead people to use considerably more anthropomorphic language.

Posted on: November 28, 2011