what actors can teach robots - CHI 2017

workshop date: may 6th, 2017, denver colorado

In an age where machines are increasingly entering our daily lives, social robotics focuses on how robots can successfully share spaces, interface, and collaborate with people. Machines that fail to interact appropriately run the risk of becoming irritating and unwelcome, however, when personality and charm are added, functional machines could not only add value to their environment, but also engage, elicit trust and foster bonds with their human partners.

The central idea of this workshop is that even very simple robots, in terms of both sensing and degrees-of-freedom, are capable of charismatic interaction. It turns out that acting training can inform the development of such charismatic robots, however, the challenge is to operationalize actor knowledge into computational systems. For example, people parse non-verbal communications intuitively, even from machines that do not look like people, and acting training contains explicit methodology for exploring the space of motion-based expression. Robotics researchers can gain insight on how to create interfaces that adapt the knowledge of human charisma experts - such as actors and performers - into robotics, developing robot social behaviors with humans in the loop.

This workshop will be a forum for discussing minimal social robots and prototyping new ones. The program includes presentations exploring the social role of simple sensors and behaviors, a hands-on activity, and motivating talks from experts in the field. There will also be ample opportunities for early researchers to connect with experts in this field.

Accepted paper authors will present 5-minute spotlight talks during the morning of the workshop, and all participants will work in small groups to craft an illustrative interaction for a minimalist robot in the afternoon. A public website will provide an archive of accepted submissions and minimal social robot interaction videos in order to share the output of the workshop with the larger community.

Attendees must attend the workshop and at least one day of the main CHI conference.

Issues? Questions? Please contact us

keynote speaker

guy hoffman Dr. Guy Hoffman is an Assistant Professor and the Mills Family Faculty FellowAssistant Professor in the Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. Prior to that he was Assistant Professor at IDC Herzliya and co-director of the IDC Media Innovation Lab. Hoffman holds a Ph.D from MIT in the field of human-robot interaction. He heads the Human-Robot Collaboration and Companionship (HRC2) group, studying the algorithms, interaction schema, and designs enabling close interactions between people and personal robots in the workplace and at home. Among others, Hoffman developed the world's first human-robot joint theater performance, and the first real-time improvising human-robot Jazz duet. His research papers won several top academic awards, including Best Paper awards at HRI and robotics conferences in 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2015. In both 2010 and 2012, he was selected as one of Israel's most promising researchers under forty. His TEDx talk is one of the most viewed online talks on robotics, watched more than 2.8 million times.

accepted talks

[pdf] Actor, Director, Programmer, Bot: The Collaboration Behind Sky Sky Sky
David V. Lu!!!, Annamaria Pileggi, William D. Smart

[pdf] Co-Designer Robot: Human-Fabrication Machine Interaction (HFI)
Jeeeun Kim

[pdf] Mime-Inspired Behaviors in Minimal Social Robots
Eric Deng, Maja J. Matarić

[pdf] Towards Co-designing Minimal Robot Behaviors with Children: What Children Can Teach Robots
Cristina Zaga, Khiet P. Truong, Vanessa Evers


9:00am: Workshop Introduction

9:30am: Keynote, Guy Hoffman

10:15am: Improv Activity

10:30am: (Coffee Break)

11:00am: Author Talks + Discussion

12:00pm: (Lunch)

1:00pm: Touch Sensing, Naomi Fitter

1:30pm: Robot Motion, Heather Knight

2:00pm: Design Team Intro, David Sirkin

2:30pm: (Coffee Break)

3pm: Design Sesson, Nik Martelaro

4pm: Design Demos

5pm: (Close)


naomi fitter is a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania Haptics Group, part of the GRASP Laboratory. She uses minimal robot sens- ing and rapid prototyping in her work, and also organizes Maker-style outreach events to help K-12 students and undergraduates in the Philadelphia area about basic circuitry and actuation. Her pastimes of performing music and comedy enhance her interest in expressive robots. In the past, she has worked with the Medical Devices Group at Microsoft Research and the Oral Care Division at Procter & Gamble. She previously received BS and BA degrees in mechanical engineering and Spanish from the University of Cincinnati in 2012 and an MSE degree in robotics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015.

heather knight is a post-doc at Stanford University and adjunct Computer Science professor at Oregon State University. She also runs Marilyn Monrobot, a robot theater company featuring comedy performances by Data the Robot, and an annual Robot Film Festival. Her research interests include human-robot interaction, non-verbal machine com- munications and non-anthropomorphic social robots. She completed her PhD in Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, was named to the 2011 Forbes List for 30 under 30 in Science, and is featured on TED.com for her Robot Comedy performances. Additional past work includes: robotics and instrumentation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, interactive installations with Syyn Labs (including the award winning "This too shall pass" Rube Goldberg Machine music video with OK GO), field applications and sensor design at Aldebaran Robotics, and she is an alumnus from the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab.

david sirkin is a Research Associate in Mechanical Engineering at the Center for Design Research, and a Lecturer in Electrical Engineering, both at Stanford University. His re- search exploring how people interact with expressive everyday (robotic) objects, and with autonomous vehicles (both inside and out), has been covered by the Associated Press, the Economist, New Scientist and the Washington Post. His teaching includes courses in interactive device design and user-centered design methods. David frequently collaborates with, and consults for, local Silicon Valley and global technology companies including Microsoft Research, SAP, Siemens and Willow Garage. He received his PhD from Stanford in Mechanical Engineering (Design), and Masters degrees from MIT in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and in Management.

nik martelaro is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford's Center for Design Research DesignX Group. He has been developing the Interaction Engine platform for use within his lab and is the lab expert for mechatronic product development. He has extensive background prototyping tangible, embedded interactive systems. Nik has also been a teaching assistant for courses on rapid prototyping and interactive device development. His current work focuses on how computationally-aware physical products can elicit meaningful interactions with users and how these products can relay those experiences back to designers.

For conference details, please visit: https://chi2017.acm.org/