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Friday, 23 June 2017

University of Sheffield event to explore future of robots in social care

Written by The Editorial Team

Sheffield Robotics and CATCH (Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare), both part of the University of Sheffield, will open their labs so members of the public can see the latest developments and hear from world-renowned academics on Monday 26 June.

Adults and children alike can meet Pepper, a state of the art humanoid robot, and MiRo, a pet-like companion robot, and discover how robotics research could have a positive impact on our everyday lives.

Professor Tony Prescott, Director of Sheffield Robotics and Professor Luc De Witte, Chair in Health Services Research at the University of Sheffield, and award-winning designer Sebastian Conran will be giving a short talk on ‘Robotics in Social Care’ in the world-leading teaching facility, the Diamond from 1-2pm.

Academics at the University are exploring how robotics can help stroke survivors to do physio exercises, assist with routine tasks to help people stay independent in their own homes for longer and help people to feel less lonely or bored.

At the Robot Foundry, Sheffield Robotics researchers will be on hand to discuss the latest robotics research and give demonstrations. Visitors can discover how experts are using robots to learn about the amazing abilities of bees and humans; work with a collaborative robot that could take dreary and dangerous work out of manufacturing; and find out about the work building real-life transforming robots.

The CATCH Home Lab will showcase demonstrations of robots linked with speech technology such as MiRo – a MiRo pet-like social companion robot. MiRo understands simple commands like ‘come here’ and ‘how are you today’? Being able to speak to a companion robot often makes people feel less lonely or bored. Robot pets also have advantages over real pets in areas such as hygiene, which becomes an issue in a hospital or care home.

Professor Tony Prescott said: “UK Robotics Week is a fantastic opportunity for the public to find out more about how robots could be helping humans in the future. It’s great for us to be able to show our amazing technology, answer questions about our work, and ease concerns that people might have about robots.”

All events and talks are free to attend and booking is not essential. 

Programme of events - Monday 26th June:

  • Short talks 1pm - 2pm
    ‘Robotics and Social Care’ at The Diamond, Lecture Theatre 2: speakers will include Professors Tony Prescott and Luc de Witte and older adults are especially invited to this event.
  • Robotic demonstrations 2pm - 5pm
    The Robot Foundry, Pam Liversidge Building: work with a collaborative robot, discuss the latest robotics research, and find out about the Sheffield Robotics real-life transforming robots.

  • The CATCH Home Lab, Innovation Centre, 217 Portobello: watch robots linked with speech technology such as MiRo who can obey simple spoken commands such as ‘come here’ and ‘how are you today?’.

Follow the conversation using the hashtag #UKRW17 and follow @ukroboticsweek to stay up to date.