TU/e opens Social Robotics Lab

June 25, 2019

Robots are increasingly popping up in our daily lives, not only in factories and warehouses, but also at airports, schools and in healthcare. To ensure that these robots understand us better and we understand them, TU Eindhoven opens a special Social Robotics Lab.

Special lab for smart and social robots
Robots are increasingly popping up in our daily lives, not only in factories and warehouses, but also at airports, schools and in healthcare. To ensure that these robots understand us better and we understand them, TU Eindhoven is setting up a special Social Robotics Lab. In the lab, students and young researchers can design robots that are not only smart, but also social and moral. The lab, a collaboration between the faculties of Industrial Design and Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences, will start on Friday 28 June with a symposium.

Robots that can collaborate with each other and with people
Social robots are robots that can collaborate with each other and with people. They are smart enough to predict what other robots and people are up to, and adjust their behavior accordingly. Think of a self-driving car, which realizes that it must stop when it detects a pedestrian in front of a street crossing. Or to a cleaning robot at an airport, which will move aside in time if it sees people about to bump into it. That also works the other way around. If people sense what the robot is planning, they can take that into account.

The challenge is to design robots that not only express their own intentions, but also understand those of people. "We want to develop robots in such a way that people understand that the robots understand them”, says Raymond Cuijpers, who together with Emilia Barakova, founded the lab. “The rapid developments in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence provide functionally competent robots, but the social intelligence that is needed to work closely with people is still largely lacking. The Social Robotics Lab offers researchers the opportunity to conduct better and more focused research into artificial social intelligence. ” Emilia Barakova: “The new lab will have a major impact on social robotics research at TU / e. With this lab we can do more in-depth research into the various complex aspects of social robotics. Together we will work towards the development of moral and ethical artificial "agents" that support people in different areas such as health care and education."

Symposium 28 June
Research on social robotics has been conducted at TU / e for over 20 years. On Friday 28 June, the university will bundle all these research efforts in a new Social Robotics Lab. The opening is celebrated with a symposium "The Future of Social Robotics". Guest speakers, including Maarten Steinbuch (TU/e), Tony Belpaeme (Ghent University) and Jim Tørresen (University of Oslo) will discuss the latest developments in the field of social robotics. The symposium is open to everyone. You can register here.