St. Paul - Minnesota - USA
May, 14th 2012

ICRA 2012 Workshop

Robotics and Performing Arts: Reciprocal Influences

Abstracts and Biographies

Louis-Philippe Demers

Abstract

Throughout history, machines interweave several functions: utility, entertainment and models to understand nature. The lineage of human representations by machines and the very process of animating the machine’s body, from divine intervention to digital computers, correspond to the epoch’s knowledge of the human body, nature and the universe. Being similar, the robot and its growing human verisimilitude forces us to deal with the many ontological schisms created by our addiction towards dichotomy such as the living/non-living, mind/body, body/space and real/unreal. Being different, the robot gives us an experimental methodological platform to explore a non-anthropocentric role of embodiment. In those two veins, the presentation discusses how experimental Robotic Art contributes, at both scientific and artistic levels, to the investigations of body morphologies, their behaviors and their environments.

Biography

Louis-Philippe Demers makes large-scale installations and performances. His projects can be found in theatre, opera, subway stations, art museums, science museums, music events and trade shows. Over the past two decades, he participated in more than seventy artistic and stage productions and has built more than 300 machines.



Damith Herath and Christian Kroos

Abstract

In this talk we question the role of robots in performing arts. It seems that there is little in current robots that sets them apart form ordinary props or the stage machinery unless they exhibit some form of agency. We explore the notion of a robotic protagonist as being an intentional agent where the perceived agency could be evoked in varies manners. Our main protagonist - The Articulated Head - is an industrial robot arm with an LCD screen mounted on its end effector. On the monitor a three-dimensional rendering of a virtual human head is displayed. The combined moving, talking actual-virtual system engages with its audience through an algorithmic ‘brain’, which acquires information about the world through various sensors deployed in its environment. We will compare and contrast the Articulated Head to our other recent art works, such as ‘Clone’, ‘Orpheux Larynx’ and the ‘Swarming Heads’ which all bring to light different aspects of robots as a protagonist.

Biography

Damith Herath received his Phd in Robotics from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Systems at the University of Technology, Sydney. Damith’s research interests include robot navigation, mapping and human-robot Interaction. He has collaborated with international artists such as Stelarc to develop robotic artworks that explore various nuances ofhuman-robot interaction.

Christian Kroos received his Ph.D. in Phonetics and Theatre Studies from the Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität, München, Germany. His work on speech articulator movements and face motion led to interdisciplinary research covering computer vision, cognitive sciences and robotics. Currently, he explores non-verbal human-machine interaction at the MARCS Institute, University of Western Sydney, Australia.



Todd D. Murphey

Abstract

This paper describes a project with the long term goal of automated performance marionettes, accomplished by capturing human motion and automating the motion imitation synthesis for an experimental marionette system. The automation and performance goals required the development of hardware and software tools that enable motion imitation, leading to a series of results in numerical simulation, optimal control, and embedded systems. Marionettes are actuated by strings, so the mechanical description of the marionettes either creates a multi-scale or degenerate system—making simulation of the constrained dynamics challenging. Moreover, the marionettes have 40-50 degrees of freedom with closed kinematic chains. Choreography requires the use of motion primitives, typically originating from human motions that one wants the marionette to imitate, and resulting in a high dimensional nonlinear optimal control problem that needs to be solved for each primitive. Once acquired, the motion primitives must be pieced together in a way that preserves stability, resulting in an optimal timing control problem. We conclude with our current results that enable the synthesis of optimal imitation trajectories, and overview the next steps we are taking in this project towards automated performance marionettes

Biography

Todd Murphey is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern University, with a secondary appointment in Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science. He received an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology. He is a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award. His research interests include computational methods in dynamics and control and design of embedded systems.



Annamaria Pileggi

Abstract

Human-Robot Interaction researchers are beginning to reach out to fields not traditionally associated with interaction research, such as the performing arts. Such collaboration offers the potential for novel insights about how to get robots and people to interact more effectively. Building on actor training techniques developed by Anne Bogart, Tadashi Suzuki, and Jerzy Grotowski, this talk will share ongoing research that applies performance theory/practice to robots and their interaction with humans. The presentation will include a short piece performed by robotic and human actors and a discussion highlighting the unique advantages and challenges this collaboration offers.

Biography

Annamaria Pileggi is an actor and director whose career has included collaborations with writers Theresa Rebeck and Barbara Damashek, directors Barney Simon of the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, South Africa, and David Wheeler of the American and Trinity Repertory Theatres. She has directed at That Uppity Theatre, New Jewish, Onsite, Muddy Waters, Dramatic License, and HotCity theatres. In addition, she is on staff at HotCity as an Associate Director and Co-Producer of the theatre’s Greenhouse New Play Development Series. Pileggi is a Senior Lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis and has been on the faculty of the Performing Arts Department since 1991. A four-time recipient of the University’s College of Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award, Pileggi directs and teaches courses in Acting, Movement for the Actor, and Musical Theatre. She also serves as an administrator and acting instructor for the department’s Shakespeare Globe Program in London. Pileggi has an MFA in acting from Brandeis University. She has been working in collaboration with Bill Smart on the HRI project since 2005.



Dylan A. Shell

Abstract

This paper examines some of the artistic elements and practical problems encountered Texas A&M’s 2009 production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in which teleoperated unmanned vehicles were involved. From the beginning, a major concern was whether robots would distract from the play, undermine the characters, and harm the world which the playwright had envisioned. The play itself had been selected before any role for robots was considered. Several directorial, costume and staging decisions were made in order to ensure that the robots would be an integral part of the production. In the end, the production was a success, and it was widely felt that our concerns had been staved off. We describe our experiences, highlight and reflect on these integrative decisions, suggesting that they may be a useful starting point for generalization to other theatrical works.

Biography

Dylan Shell is an assistant professor computer science and engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. He received his BSc degree in computational & applied mathematics and computer science from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. He took a position as Postdoctoral Research Associate in the USC Interaction lab in 2008, before joining Texas A&M. His research aims to synthesize and analyze complex, intelligent behavior in distributed systems that exploit their physical embedding to interact with the physical world. Although his focus is on multi-robot applications of these ideas, his broader research interests include unconventional and statistical models of computation, cooperation and competition in artificial systems, emergence, statistical mechanics and thermodynamics of finite systems.



Hiroshi Ishiguro

Abstract

Biography

Hiroshi Ishiguro received a D.Eng. in systems engineering from the Osaka University, Japan in 1991. He is currently Professor of Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University (2009–). He is also Visiting Group Leader (2002–) of the Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories and ATR Fellow (2010–) at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute, where he previously worked as Visiting Researcher (1999–2002). He was previously Research Associate (1992–1994) in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University and Associate Professor (1998–2000) in the Department of Social Informatics at Kyoto University. He was also Visiting Scholar (1998–1999) at the University of California, San Diego, USA. He was Associate Professor (2000–2001) and Professor (2001–2002) in the Department of Computer and Communication Sciences at Wakayama University. He then moved to Department of Adaptive Machine Systems in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University as a Professor (2002-2009). His research interests include distributed sensor systems, interactive robotics, and android science.



Oussama Khatib

Abstract

Biography



Nikolaos Mavridis

Abstract

In this talk, I will touch upon the common intersection of Interactive Robotics with three interesting areas: Theatre, Natural Language, and Tele-Participation. The talk will be centered around a concrete example: the Ibn Sina android with arabic-speaking dialogic capabilities, and the Interactive Theatre Installation which it is part of. Specific examples from the Ibn Sina theatre involving multiple forms of tele-participation will be presented: utilizing motion-capture, brain-computer-interfacing, online virtual worlds as well as social net sites. Some early ideas on a theoretical framework, background and other relevant research, as well as implications and possible future pathways will also be discussed.

Biography

Dr. Nikolaos Mavridis has received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2007, after receiving his MSEE from UCLA and a MEng in ECE from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Currently, he is serving as an Ass. Professor of Computer Engineering at New York University (NYU) in Abu Dhabi, and also directing the Interactive Robots and Media Laboratory (IRML). The lab is home to the "FaceBots" social robots project, as well as to "IbnSina", the first arabic-speaking humanlike humanoid. The current research Interests of Dr. Mavridis include: Human-Robot Interaction, Social Robotics, and Cognitive Systems. In his PhD thesis at MIT, Dr. Mavridis introduced the "Grounded Situation Model" proposal, and demonstrated its benefits by implementing it on Ripley, a manipulator robot with vision, touch, and speech synthesis/recognition. The sensorymotor/linguistic abilities of the resulting system were comparable to those implied by a standard psychological test for 3 - year old children (The "Token Test"). Dr. Mavridis has received honorary fellowships from the Onassis foundation and the Hellenic State Fellowship organization, is a member with frequent participation at the EU Cognition group, and he has also served in numerous leadership positions in the past.



Ken Goldberg

Abstract

I'll present selected artworks involving robotic systems, including the Tele-Actor and Ballet Mori, a performance to commemorate the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, where SF Ballet Principal Dancer Muriel Maffre responded to a musical composition modulated live by the unpredictable fluctuations of the Earth's movement as measured in real time by a UC Berkeley seismometer at the Hayward Fault. I'll also present a site-specific responsive acoustic installation that was commissioned by the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.

Biography

Ken Goldberg is an artist, engineer, and Craigslist Distinguished Professor of New Media at UC Berkeley. His artwork has been exhibited at Ars Electronica, ZKM, Centre Pompidou, ICC Biennale, Kwangju Biennale, Artists Space, The Kitchen, and the Whitney Biennial.



Heather Knight

Abstract

The Cyborg Cabaret explores human, robot, and cyborg relationships in a variety show format featuring everything from cutting edge metal machines to cardboard-suited meat bags. Attendees were told toexpect tear-jerking vignettes, frequent nonsequiters, and lots of humor through avant art-meets-science theater. Subtitled “Passion, Terror and Interdependence,” the eight-act variety show included human, machine and cyborg performers, and first occurred at The New Hazlett Theater April 27, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Biography

Heather Knight is currently conducting her doctoral research at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and running Marilyn Monrobot in NYC, which features comedy performances by Data the Robot and organizes the annual Robot Film Festival and Cyborg Cabaret. She was named to the 2011 Forbes List for 30 under 30 in Science. Her work also includes: robotics and instrumentation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, interactive installations with Syyn Labs (including the award winning "This too shall pass" Rube Goldberg Machine music video with OK GO), field applications and sensor design at Aldebaran Robotics, and she is an alumnus from the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab.



David V. Lu

Abstract

There are an increasing number of theatrical productions that have robots in them functioning as characters. The underlying systems that drive their performances can vary in numerous ways, including the level of adaptive control and the level of human involvement. However, oftentimes all of the performances as labeled equally as “robot acting,” hiding numerous possible complexities and simplifications in the programming. This paper aims to categorize and classify the different algorithms that can exist behind the curtain to create these performances.

Biography

David V. Lu is a PhD student at Washington University in St. Louis. He recieved his degree in computer science from the University of Rochester, and has had internships at Walt Disney Imagineering, Google and IBM Research. His research focuses on the intersection between robotics and theatre, teaching robots how to "act" better, and using this knowledge to help improve human-robot interaction. In addition, he has served as a director and actor for various theatrical productions around St. Louis.



Paolo Dario and Pericle Salvini

Abstract

Biography

Paolo Dario is a Professor of Biomedical Robotics at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, Italy. He is also a Visiting Professor at Waseda University, Japan, and at Zhejiang University, China. He is the Director of The BioRobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, comprising a team of about 140 researchers, including 80 PhD students. His main research interests are in the fields of medical robotics, bio-robotics, mechatronics and micro/nanoengineering. He is the coordinator of many national and European projects (including the current FET-Flagship Pilot on “Robot Companions for Citizens”), the editor of two books on the subject of robotics, and the author of more than 220 scientific papers (more than 180 on ISI journals). He is Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor and member of the Editorial Board of many international journals. He has been a plenary invited speaker in many international conferences. Prof. Dario has served as President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society in the years 2002-2003. He has been the General Chair of the IEEE RAS-EMBS BioRob’06 Conference and of the 2007 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA’07). Prof. Dario is an IEEE Fellow, a Fellow of the European Society on Medical and Biological Engineering, a Fellow of the School of Engineering of the University of Tokyo, and a recipient of many honors and awards, including the Joseph Engelberger Award. He is also a member of the Board of the International Foundation of Robotics Research (IFRR).

Pericle Salvini Pericle Salvini graduated in Foreign Languages and Literatures from the University of Pisa in 2000. In 2005, he completed a Master of Research degree in Theatre Studies at Lancaster University (UK). In 2008, he received his PhD in Biorobotics Science and Engineering from IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (Italy). He is currently with the BioRobotics Institute of Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy. His main research interests are in the fields of Human-Robot Interaction (design, human factor and social acceptance of robots), and technoethics (legal and ethical implications of robotics research and applications). He is also involved in activities concerning the use of robots in education and art. He is currently co-chair of the HRI TC of IEEE (www. ) and project manager of the RoboLaw project (www.robolaw.eu), and he is collaborating in the Roborama project (www.roborama.it).



Daniela Rus

Abstract

Biography