“Using Companion Robots for Research and Education”
By Patrick C. K. Hung, Faculty of Business and IT, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada
Patrick C. K. Hung is a Professor and Director of International Programs at the Faculty of Business and Information Technology in University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Canada. the Patrick worked with Boeing Research and Technology at Seattle on aviation services-related research with two U.S. patents on mobile network dynamic workflow system. Before that, he was a Research Scientist with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia. He is a founding member of the IEEE Technical Committee on Services Computing, and the IEEE Transactions on Services Computing. He has Ph.D. and Master in Computer Science from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Master in Management Sciences from the University of Waterloo, Canada and Bachelor in Computer Science from University of New South Wales, Australia.
The concept of robots, or other autonomous constructions, can be found in many different cultures dating back to ancient times. A companion robot is defined as a device consisting of a physical robot component that connects to Cloud services to improve the ease and productivity of activities through networking, multi-media and sensory technologies. It is believed that robotic computing can provide a good experience to engage university and pre-university students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Many studies found out that anthropomorphic designs of what robots are, what they can do, and how they should be understood resulted in greater user engagement within the history of Western countries. Humanoid robots usually behave like natural social interaction partners for human users, with features such as speech, gestures, and eye-gaze, in referring to the personal data and social background of the users. Cultural differences may influence human-robot interaction with different social norms and cultural traits, especially in West and East. In contrary to the Western image of robots as frightening machines, there is a different culture in the East. This talk discusses several research and education studies on companion robots from this socio-technical perspective.