Tag Archives: Robots

Japan – HRI 2010 Robotics Conference (3 of 3)

Of course, my main reason for visiting Japan was to present a poster of my work at the HRI 2010 robotics conference.

Robovie is one of the many robots being shown and discussed here.

You may remember these guys from my pictures of last year’s Japan visit. They made an appearance again here. These robots are quite expensive as I found out after last year, at over $25,000 each!

An optional bus tour was offered as part of the conference. One part of the tour took us to a grocery store where this robot was demonstrated as a shopping assistant. The robot helped guide an elderly woman through the entrance of the store.

This is me with the famous Ishiguro android. Although it can be very hard to tell, I am the only actual person in this photo. I am looking towards the robot which has been designed almost exactly like its creator.

This concludes my Japan 2010 blog posts. More updates coming soon, including a few photos from my quick stop in San Francisco on the way back from Japan.

Breakfast Television / Citytv News

This has certainly been a busy and overwhelming week, for good reasons!

Last week, I was contacted by Mike Yawney from Citytv Calgary. He was interested in doing a story about my Stress Roomba project. He had read about it on Engadget and was convinced it would make a fantastic story.

He came to the Interactions Lab on Wednesday with his cameraman, Nick. For an hour and half, I demonstrated my project and we played with my Roomba.


In this photo, you can see me helping out Mike with the headband as he tries it on. Although there were various malfunctions, it only took a few minutes for the system to start working for him on camera.

The next day, I got a call asking me if I want to appear on Breakfast Television the next morning to answer questions about the project. I agreed. So on Friday morning, I got up at the early hour of 5 AM, got ready and headed downtown.

Little did I know, I got off at the new 6th Street station which had just open for the first time only hours before. The City is redoing their downtown stations to accomodate larger cars.


I am sitting on the set of BT in this photo! I regret not asking to keep the mug, though they probably don’t give them away anyway. I got a mug now! 🙂

Basically, they showed Mike’s segment on BT and then asked me some questions.

You can see the whole Breakfast Television segment here and also just the pre-recorded news segment here. The photos in this post are courtesy and copyright of Citytv.

My Roomba and I have our 15 minutes of fame!

Today, one of my colleagues in the lab, Daniel, came up to me with a bewildered look on his face, not sure what to say. Finally, he tells me I am on one of his favourite blogs. I tell him, surely you have me confused with someone else.


Sure enough, there was my face on The Raw Feed. This was my project. It gets better, because there was more!

A link from this article lead me to MIT’s Information Review blog, which published a review of my project last Friday.


How did this happen? Last week, I attended the HRI 2009 Conference in San Diego, California where I presented my previously blogged first academic publication as a poster. Things went well at the conference! Don’t worry, pictures are coming soon from San Francisco, where I went for a few days before San Diego.

Now I was curious if there was any other coverage of my little Roomba project, so I searched around. I found myself on the front page of BotJunkie as well, a robot blog, with an amusing headline.


Later in the day, my project made its way onto Gizmodo, a rather popular blog that I read from time to time, with another rather amusing headline. The comments are also quite good.


As you can imagine, I’m quite excited at the response that my project received. Now I realize it might actually be my mood which causes my Roomba to develop an attitude and refuse to return to its home base, instead hiding out in the most remote place it can find.

UPDATE: My project has now also appeared on Ubergizmo, this time with a bit more mellow headline.


Based on Alexa and Technorati ratings, both Gizmodo and Ubergizmo are two of the most popular gadget blogs around.

UPDATE 2: My project has just appeared on Engadget. Woohoo! This article sheds light on my little comic.


My first academic publication

In the world of academia, especially higher academia beyond the under-graduate level, one measure of success is number of publications. Following my work from the first 4 months, I have my first publication, though getting this one wasn’t too difficult given the criteria. It is a late breaking abstract submission to the HRI 2009 conference in San Diego, California in March. This type of submission isn’t as prominent as others to the conference due to a generous acceptance rate, but still, it’s my first one!

For the first 4 months, I did some interesting work. I used the OCZ Neural Impulse Actuator to read brain waves muscle tension. Although some reviewers and my initial perceptions of this device led me to think I could use it for thought-based control, the reality was very different. At any rate, I was able to use input from this device to control an iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner.


Above appears the first page of 2 of my academic paper.

Speaking of academic publications, I am expecting to appear in a publication of a different kind. The UNB Saint John Computer Science is apparently going to use a picture of me in Europe in an upcoming brochure along with my testimonial about the Student Abroad program! I’ll update when I know more about this.