First Human-Robot Interaction Conference in Southern Hemisphere in Christchurch

Reseachers from across the world attended a major conference in Christchurch on Friday 4th March showing off their latest theories, technology, data, and videos furthering the state-of-the-art in human robot interaction.

Click for the New Zealand Herald News Report.
Press Release: University of Canterbury

With robots doing the haka and enabling remote attendance via telepresence robots, the first Human-Robot Interaction Conference in the Southern Hemisphere is being held in collaboration with the University of Canterbury in Christchurch next week.

HRI 2016 is the 11th annual conference for basic and applied human-robot interaction research, which has been held in Europe, the United States, Japan and Korea.

Hundreds of researchers from around the world will attend the HRI 2016 conference at Chateau on the Park from 7-10 March.

UC Associate Professor Christoph Bartneck, of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory (HIT Lab NZ) says that researchers are drawn to HRI to exchange ideas about the latest theories, technology, data, and videos furthering the state-of-the-art in human-robot interaction.

“As well as demonstrations of robots performing the haka, telepresence robots will be roaming the conference to enable people to attend remotely. One of the telepresence robots will be dedicated to allowing a group of physically disabled Americans to virtually attend the conference, while two other robots will be available for other people from around the world to log in, control the robots’ movements and watch the proceedings,” Dr Bartneck says.

This year, the HRI Conference highlights the theme of “Natural Interaction.” The conference will include contributions from a broad set of perspectives, including technical, design, methodological, behavioural, and theoretical, that advance fundamental and applied knowledge and methods in human-robot interaction.

The Human Interface Technology Laboratory New Zealand (HIT Lab NZ) is a human-computer interface research centre hosted at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. The lab is a partner of the world-leading HIT Lab US based at the University of Washington in Seattle. The HIT Lab’s multi-disciplinary approach to research and education facilitates an entrepreneurial climate, which fosters a wealth of innovative ideas. Currently the lab is working on a range of projects in collaboration with industry and academia.

The HRI Conference is a highly selective annual international conference that aims to showcase the very best interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research in human-robot interaction with roots in and broad participation from communities that include but not limited to robotics, human-computer interaction, human factors, artificial intelligence, engineering, and social and behavioural sciences.

Apparently 100s of researchers from around the world were here this week discussing world leading human robot interaction stuff!  I didn’t see anything in the media about it (not saying there wasn’t any, but think it’s a real Christchurch leading edge thing given HITLab so would be good to give some profile).

The HITLab guys programmed robots to do the haka for the welcome ceremony.  Might be worth checking with UC Associate Professor Christoph Bartneck if there is any footage or human interest angle.

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