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NSF: Developing Robots That Can Teach Humans

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  • Leonie Haimson
    The further dehumanization/depersonalization of schooling, aided by the NSF. Developing Robots That Can Teach Humans
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 12 10:37 AM

      The further dehumanization/depersonalization of schooling, aided by the NSF. 

      Developing Robots That Can Teach Humans

      http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/gazeintomyeyes.jsp

       

      Researchers are programming robot teachers to gaze and gesture like humans

      When it comes to communication, sometimes it's our body language that says the most--especially when it comes to our eyes.

      "It turns out that gaze tells us all sorts of things about attention, about mental states, about roles in conversations," says Bilge Mutlu, a computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

      Mutlu knows a thing or two about the psychology of body language. He bills himself as a human-computer interaction specialist. Support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) is helping Mutlu and his fellow computer scientist, Michael Gleicher, take gaze behavior in humans and create algorithms to reproduce it in robots and animated characters.

      "These are behaviors that can be modeled and then designed into robots so that they (the behaviors) can be used on demand by a robot whenever it needs to refer to something and make sure that people understand what it's referring to," explains Mutlu.

      Both Mutlu and Gleicher are betting that there will be significant benefits to making robots and animated characters "look" more like humans. "We can build animated agents and robots that can communicate more effectively by using the very subtle cues that people use," says Gleicher.

      Mutlu sets up experiments to study the effect of a robot gaze on humans. "We are interested in seeing how referential gaze cues might facilitate collaborative work such that if a robot is giving instructions to people about a task that needs to be completed, how does that gaze facilitate that instruction task and people's understanding of the instruction and the execution of that task," says Mutlu.

      To demonstrate, a three-foot-tall, yellow robot in the computer sciences lab greets subjects, saying: "Hi, I'm Wakamaru, nice to meet you. I have a task for you to categorize these objects on the table into boxes."

      In one case, the robot very naturally glances toward the objects it "wants" sorted as it speaks. In another case, the robot just stares at the person. Mutlu says the results are pretty clear. "When the robot uses humanlike gaze cues, people are much faster in locating the objects that they have to move."

      Another experiment run by Mutlu and Gleicher's team explores how an animated character's eyes affect human learning. A character projected on a screen says to the viewer, "Today, I'll be telling you a story that comes straight from ancient China." Behind the animated character is a map of China that he'll be referring to in the lecture that runs several minutes.

      "The goal of the experiment is to see if we could achieve a high-level outcome, like learning, by controlling an animated character's gaze," says Gleicher. "What we found was when the lecturer looked at the map at appropriate times to indicate to the participant that now I'm talking about something on the map, the participant ended up learning more about spatial locations."

      The team hopes their work will transform how humanoid robots and animated characters interface with people, especially in classrooms. "We can design technology that really benefits people in learning, in health and in well-being, and in collaborative work," notes Mutlu.

      Now, that's technology worth keeping an eye on!

      Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
      Jon Baime, Science Nation Producer

       

       

      Leonie Haimson

      Executive Director

      Class Size Matters

      124 Waverly Pl.

      New York, NY 10011

      212-674-7320

      leonie@...

      www.classsizematters.org

      http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson

       

      Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

       

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    • Norm Scott
      The future: Arnold Schartzenager Terminator robots. You vill score high or I ll be back. The gaze ? Think KIPP. Don t they want some version of teacher
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 12 11:26 AM
        The future:
        Arnold Schartzenager "Terminator" robots.
        "You vill score high or I'll be back."
        The "gaze"? Think KIPP.
        Don't they want some version of teacher robot whether in the flesh or not?


        On Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 1:37 PM, Leonie Haimson <leonie@...> wrote:
         

        The further dehumanization/depersonalization of schooling, aided by the NSF. 

        Developing Robots That Can Teach Humans

        http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/gazeintomyeyes.jsp

         

        Researchers are programming robot teachers to gaze and gesture like humans

        When it comes to communication, sometimes it's our body language that says the most--especially when it comes to our eyes.

        "It turns out that gaze tells us all sorts of things about attention, about mental states, about roles in conversations," says Bilge Mutlu, a computer scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

        Mutlu knows a thing or two about the psychology of body language. He bills himself as a human-computer interaction specialist. Support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) is helping Mutlu and his fellow computer scientist, Michael Gleicher, take gaze behavior in humans and create algorithms to reproduce it in robots and animated characters.

        "These are behaviors that can be modeled and then designed into robots so that they (the behaviors) can be used on demand by a robot whenever it needs to refer to something and make sure that people understand what it's referring to," explains Mutlu.

        Both Mutlu and Gleicher are betting that there will be significant benefits to making robots and animated characters "look" more like humans. "We can build animated agents and robots that can communicate more effectively by using the very subtle cues that people use," says Gleicher.

        Mutlu sets up experiments to study the effect of a robot gaze on humans. "We are interested in seeing how referential gaze cues might facilitate collaborative work such that if a robot is giving instructions to people about a task that needs to be completed, how does that gaze facilitate that instruction task and people's understanding of the instruction and the execution of that task," says Mutlu.

        To demonstrate, a three-foot-tall, yellow robot in the computer sciences lab greets subjects, saying: "Hi, I'm Wakamaru, nice to meet you. I have a task for you to categorize these objects on the table into boxes."

        In one case, the robot very naturally glances toward the objects it "wants" sorted as it speaks. In another case, the robot just stares at the person. Mutlu says the results are pretty clear. "When the robot uses humanlike gaze cues, people are much faster in locating the objects that they have to move."

        Another experiment run by Mutlu and Gleicher's team explores how an animated character's eyes affect human learning. A character projected on a screen says to the viewer, "Today, I'll be telling you a story that comes straight from ancient China." Behind the animated character is a map of China that he'll be referring to in the lecture that runs several minutes.

        "The goal of the experiment is to see if we could achieve a high-level outcome, like learning, by controlling an animated character's gaze," says Gleicher. "What we found was when the lecturer looked at the map at appropriate times to indicate to the participant that now I'm talking about something on the map, the participant ended up learning more about spatial locations."

        The team hopes their work will transform how humanoid robots and animated characters interface with people, especially in classrooms. "We can design technology that really benefits people in learning, in health and in well-being, and in collaborative work," notes Mutlu.

        Now, that's technology worth keeping an eye on!

        Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
        Jon Baime, Science Nation Producer

         

         

        Leonie Haimson

        Executive Director

        Class Size Matters

        124 Waverly Pl.

        New York, NY 10011

        212-674-7320

        leonie@...

        www.classsizematters.org

        http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson

         

        Follow me on twitter @leoniehaimson

         

        Make a tax-deductible contribution to Class Size Matters now!

         

        Subscribe to Class Size Matters news by emailing classsizematters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

        Subscribe to NYC education news by emailing nyceducationnews-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

         




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        On Twitter:  @normscott1

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