We found some young researchers

16-06-2015

During the Robotics day organised by De Jonge Onderzoekers we saw a lot of potential ‘young researchers’ ranging from age 3 to 61. Most were only visiting, but some were working with Lego Mindstorms, Arduino’s, 3D printers, custom robots; in short — the lot.

We were given a nice spot on the ground floor which Alice could map easily, except for an electricity post in the dead center of the room. After some tables and chairs were shuffled around, we could start preparing for the demo’s we had in mind, if only we had the time.

We started out by setting up the ‘follow me’ demonstration by Ruben and Lisette in which a human (point cloud) was tracked using a 3D (xtion) camera. This information was fed to a software turtle bot which could be controlled through moving in front of the xtion.

A few minutes later, two Nao’s were set up to show some dance moves, take selfies and show their best kick! In the meanwhile Alice had mapped the environment and was getting ready to show how she incorporated voice recognition, object recognition, navigation and object manipulation.

But — as young researchers should — they were far more interested in the inner workings, ranging from the laser data and map visualization in Rviz to how Alice perceived a human and arm control. “Can she see how many fingers i’m holding up?”

The funny thing is that — as soon as the robot displays some hints of intelligence — these ‘researchers’ will assign all possible attributes of intelligence to the robot. Within a few minutes they start to Turing test the machine by torpedoing Alice with questions (in both Dutch and English) and expect perfect answers.

You could say they were shooting for the stars, and maybe we should too.

More photos from the Robotdag @ De Jonge Onderzoekers Groningen album

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