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14.06.2023   kl. 11:15 - 12:15

DIAS Lecture: Interactive robots - Status, Problems and Perspectives

Professor Norbert Krüger, The Faculty of Engineering, The Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Institute, SDU Robotics, and DIAS Chair of Engineering

Interactive robots: Status, Problems and Perspectives

Industrial Robots have transformed our society since the 1960ths by being able to perform repetitive movements with high precision, speed and strength. By that, a large amount of straining and monotonous work that before had been performed by human workers could be replaced. The application areas of robots could be further extended by the introduction of sensors such as cameras: Today also flexible and brittle objects that show a significant variation in shape (such as vegetables, meat, or fabrics) can be processed by robots. In addition, by simplifying robots programming – which was one of the reasons for the worldwide success of Universal Robot – in the last decade also more and more Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been enabled to apply robots in their production.

In addition to industrial robots, also mobile robots have been applied within production and warehouses and nowadays even appear in public spaces. However, in case there is an unforeseen situation such as a potential collision with a person, these robots tend to just stop instead of going into an interaction with the human to resolve the situation. If we were able to model satisfying interactions and dialogues with humans, robots could play an even larger role in our society by assisting humans, for example in areas where hands are urgently needed such as elderly care. However, the image presented by the media about what such assistive robots can do does not match reality.

In my talk, I will first give a short overview of the history of robotics and the transformational effects they triggered and will then share some insights into the state of art of robots that already today are able to operate in public spaces. The question “What makes human-robot-interaction such a hard problem?” will then be the focus of my talk. At the end, I dare to speculate about assistive robots in the near and far future.

Norbert Krüger is Full Professor and new DIAS Chair of Engineering. He has been employed at the University of Southern Denmark since 2006. Since having finalized his Master’s in mathematics and philosophy in 1993, Norbert Krüger has established an interdisciplinary research and teaching profile at five universities in three different countries. His research focuses on industrial robotics, machine learning and human-robot-interaction.

In the context of industrial robotics, he coordinated two EU projects as well as a Danish national project ReRoPro. His main scientific focus was on the learning of gripper structures for industrial applications by simulation and optimization. Today, this approach is used in the I4.0 lab at SDU. From 2012 onwards, Norbert Krüger supported the development of the Welfare Robotics Group at SDU Robotics.

See Norberts lecture here,