The University of Birmingham’s robots are spending their days preparing for the British Science Festival which is coming to the city of Birmingham in September. Watch some behind-the-scenes action of the robots getting ready!
Nao can dance, play football and even works in classrooms to support learning. The School of Computer Science has developed a suite of intelligent behaviours for the Aldebaran Nao robot suitable for use with children with autism. These behaviours go beyond the state-of-the-art by including autonomous robot actions.
Didi is one of several innovative robots designed by Aldebaran Robotics and used by academic colleagues at the University of Birmingham for research into the teaching of children with autism. The Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER) in the School of Education works closely with Topcliffe Primary School in Castle Vale, Birmingham where two similar robots have been donated by the University of Birmingham. The robots have blank features, no emotions and standardised expressions and responses so children with autism find them less threatening than adults and other children. They can be programmed to have conversations, play games, dance and even take classes. Topcliffe is the first school in the country to adopt these knee-high machines which each cost £15,000 and it is hoped that other schools will consider investing in the near future, allowing Aldebaran to learn how their technology could help other children with disabilities.
Bob, is mobile and is able to move intelligently for limited periods of time. Bob can understand and exploit the dynamics of everyday activities based on an understanding of 3D space and how this space changes over time. The specialist STRANDS robots can learn how to act intelligently in real-world environments and in a multi-million Euro project, computer scientists are looking at ways these robots can support security guards or care home assistants.
Mr Chips is the University’s drink server. It is able to use QR codes to locate people who want a drink nearby and navigate through crowds carrying up to six ice cold beers. The Computer Science team are working to make these robots smarter so that they can carry out domestic tasks.
Dora has sophisticated awareness technology, using an onboard photo album to recognise objects, and SLAM (simultaneous localisation and mapping) technology to create a virtual map of her environment. Dora is different to previous robots due to its ability to make its own decisions. For example, when exploring, Dora will prioritise nearby rooms over distant ones to make the most of time. To decide in what order to perform tasks, the robot determines which task gives the most information for the lowest cost and goes there next.