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By Denis (on 4/26/2007 @ 09:25:11, in Robotics, linked 3600 times)
In these days there is a debate about autonomous robots and their rights. Robots are becoming more and more autonomous and used for several tasks: vacuum cleaner, military service, to take care of elder people, etc.
This debate was caused by a paper commissioned by the UK government, and complied by a group of futures researchers, the Outsights-Ipsos Mori partnership and the US-based Institute for the Future (IFTF). This paper (titled Utopian Dream or Rise of the Machines?), predicts that robots could one day demand the same citizen's rights as humans, including housing and even "robo-healthcare".
The study was "poorly informed, poorly supported by science and it is sensationalist" according to Professor Owen Holland. He does acknowledge a need for informed debate about the rights issue, however.

What will happen if an autonomous robot kills someone? Whose fault is it?

By Denis (on 9/9/2006 @ 09:21:01, in Robotics, linked 3960 times)
Hi guys, last week I went to Poland to partecipate to MMAR 2006 (the 12th IEEE International Conference on Methods and Models in Automation and Robotics).

As I've already said in a previous post, in this conference I've presented my paper entitled "A Modular, Hierarchical, Reconfigurable Controller for Autonomous Robots". You can know more about it visiting the appropriate section of my website.

The conference itself was quite interesting with a lot of well written papers. I met a lot of researchers, young and old, and it was very interesting to compare different points of view for the same problem.

Of course, the conference social program was very interesting too 8 - )!
By Denis (on 7/20/2006 @ 23:09:51, in Robotics, linked 4166 times)
MMAR 2006 is the 12th IEEE International Conference on Methods and Models in Automation and Robotics. It will be held in Międzyzdroje, Poland, from August 28th to August 31st, 2006.
The most exciting news for me is that I will partecipate to the conference, since my paper entitled "A Modular, Hierarchical, Reconfigurable Controller for Autonomous Robots" has been accepted.
This paper is based on my master thesis (you can read it here) and it illustrates a fuzzy controller that fully satisfies the desiderata of modularity, hierarchical structure and reconfigurability. This fuzzy controller is based on meta rules that allow to build incresingly complex behaviors and to have great modularity considering behaviors like black-box units. A very interesting thing of this fuzzy controller is that it allows to reload a behavior without stopping its execution: this feature is mostly used during testing (when it is discovered that a change is needed in a behavior) and it makes behavior development much faster.
Though I will present alone the paper during the conference, I must say that I wrote the paper with Alessandro Saffiotti that also helped me a lot during my master thesis (I will never finish to thank him).
Here below you can see Rasmus, the robot we used to validate our work.

Rasmus - the robot used in our experiments.
By Denis (on 6/24/2006 @ 12:35:28, in Robotics, linked 3858 times)
RoboCup is an international joint project to promote AI, robotics, and related field. It is an attempt to foster AI and intelligent robotics research by providing a standard problem where wide range of technologies can be integrated and examined. RoboCup chose to use soccer game as a central topic of research, aiming at innovations to be applied for socially significant problems and industries.

Robocup 2006 was in Bremen (Germany) from 14 to 18 June. The German teams were very impressive and they won 11 gold medals (there were 33 gold medals in total). And what about the italian teams? Uhm...only one team did a good job: the RoboCare team. It ranks 3rd in the RoboCup@Home league.

The other italian teams partecipating to Robocup2006 were: Milan Robocup Team (Middle-size league), SPQR-Legged (Four-Legged league), Artisti (Humanoid League), SPQR (RoboCup Rescue, Simulation League), Alcor (RoboCup Rescue, Robot League), Aktarus (RoboCup Junior), Leonardo (RoboCup Junior), Nemesis (RoboCup Junior), Pegasus (RoboCup Junior), Von Neumann robotic team 1 (RoboCup Junior), Von Neumann robotic team 2 (RoboCup Junior).
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