Collaborating Authors


Good egg? Robot chef is trained to make the 'perfect' omelette

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A robot has been trained to prepare and cook an omelette from breaking the egg to presenting it on a plate to the diner by a team of engineers. Researchers from the University of Cambridge worked with domestic appliance firm Beko to train the machine to create the best omelette for the majority of tastes. The team say cooking is an interesting problem for roboticists as'humans can never be totally objective when it comes to food' or how it should taste. They used machine learning data from a study of volunteers and their reaction to different omelettes cooked in a variety of ways in order to train the robot. The omelette, made by the robotic chef'general tasted great – much better than expected' according to the research team who tested the resulting dish.

HRI 2020 Online Day One


HRI2020 has already kicked off with workshops and the Industry Talks Session on April 3, however the first release of videos has only just gone online with the welcome from General Chairs Tony Belpaeme, ID Lab, University of Ghent and James Young, University of Manitoba. There is also a welcome from the Program Chairs Hatice Gunes from University of Cambridge and Laurel Riek from University of San Diego, requesting that we all engage with the participants papers and videos. The theme of this year's conference is "Real World Human-Robot Interaction," reflecting on recent trends in our community toward creating and deploying systems that can facilitate real-world, long-term interaction. This theme also reflects a new theme area we have introduced at HRI this year, "Reproducibility for Human Robot Interaction," which is key to realizing this vision and helping further our scientific endeavors. This trend was also reflected across our other four theme areas, including "Human-Robot Interaction User Studies," "Technical Advances in Human-Robot Interaction," "Human-Robot Interaction Design," and "Theory and Methods in Human-Robot Interaction."

Dr Enrico Bonadio


Enrico Bonadio is Reader at The City Law School, where he teaches various modules on intellectual property (IP) law. He holds law degrees from the University of Florence (PHD) and the University of Pisa (LLB), and is Associate Editor and Intellectual Property Correspondent of the European Journal of Risk Regulation as well as a member of the Editorial Board of NUART Journal. His current research agenda focuses on copyright protection of unconventional forms of expression, including graffiti and street art. Enrico has recently co-edited the book "Non-Conventional Copyright - Do New and Non-Traditional Works Deserve Protection?" (together with Nicola Lucchi, Elgar 2018); and edited the "Cambridge Handbook of Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti" (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Enrico is also researching on IP protection of AI and robotics: he is part of a consortium that has been awarded funding by the EU as part of Horizon2020 to assess the area of interactive robots in society (INBOTS project).

Interview: Artificial Intelligence: Thinking Outside the Box (Part One)


Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the stuff of science fiction. While robot maids may not yet be a reality, researchers are working hard to create reasoning, problem-solving machines whose "brains" might rival our own. Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh (anglicized as Sean O'Hegarty), while enthusiastic about the benefits that AI can bring, is also wary of the technology's dark side. He holds a doctorate in genomics from Trinity College Dublin and is now executive director of the Center for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge. He has played a central role in international research on the long-term impacts and risks of AI.

Drones show how Greenland Ice Sheet fractures causing dramatic waterfall and rising sea levels

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Captivating images capture by custom-built drones have revealed the damage to the Greenland Ice Sheet that is being caused by rising global temperatures. The images, which have been taken as part of an EU-funded project to track changes in the world's second-largest ice sheet, are the first drone-based observations of how fractures form and expand under meltwater lakes. The expanding fractures cause catastrophic lake drainages, during which huge quantities of water are transferred to below the surface of the ice. Changes in ice flow occur on a much shorter timescales than were previously considered possible, said the research team, which was led by the University of Cambridge. 'It's possible we've under-estimated the effects of these glaciers on the overall instability of the Greenland Ice Sheet,' said drone pilot Tom Chudley, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge's Scott Polar Research Institute.

In a first, IBM's computer debater faces off against itself


The chamber hushed as the debate got underway at the Cambridge Union and the teams launched into their carefully crafted opening statements. The topic - whether artificial intelligence would do more harm than good - was something each side had a big stake in because both were using the technology to deliver their arguments. Cambridge University, home to the world's oldest debating society, was the setting Thursday night for a demonstration of what the future might hold. IBM's Project Debater, a robot that has already debated humans, was for the first time being pitted against itself, at least in the first round. Artificial intelligence "will not be able to make a decision that is the morally correct one, because morality is unique to humans," the computer system said in a synthetic and vaguely feminine voice.

Amazon is spotted testing its Prime Air delivery drones at the company's test site near Cambridge

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Amazon is continuing to'secretly' test the capability of its Air Prime delivery drones at their proving ground in the UK countryside. Engineers in high vis jackets were spotted yesterday flying drones on wires from a giant metal gantry in a field near Cambridge, England. It is unclear why the drones are being flown attached to cables -- but could perhaps help to determine the drone's positions relative to the crane as they land. Cameras and sensors have also been added to the metal frame to carry out tests on the drones and check they can navigate and land correctly. The company first began secretly flying its drones in a field near Cambridge three years ago, in July 2016, after the UK's Civil Aviation Authority lifted the previous strict drone flying restrictions.

Robot, heal thyself: scientists develop self-repairing machines

The Guardian

From picking fruit to carrying out minor surgery, soft robotic hands made from jelly-like plastic are thought by scientists to be the future solution to many human needs. But being gentle and soft enough to avoid damaging fruit or flesh has made the robots prone to damage and left them largely impractical for use in the real world – until now. A European commission-funded project, led by scientists at the Free University of Brussels and the University of Cambridge, aims to create "self-healing" robots that can feel pain, or sense damage, before swiftly patching themselves up without human intervention. The researchers have already successfully developed polymers that can heal themselves by creating new bonds after about 40 minutes. The next step will be to embed sensor fibres in the polymer which can detect where the damage is located.

Episode 50: Humanizing Technology with Affectiva's CEO Rana el Kaliouby Talla


Learn all about how they are humanizing technology, making our roads safer, and much more! My guest today is Rana el Kaliouby, and she is the CEO of Affectiva and a former professor of computer science. Why don't you tell us a little bit about your background, and what you did before starting Affectiva and what the genesis of the idea? I did my PhD at Cambridge University, focusing on machine learning, and computer vision. Early on in my career, I recognized that technology's becoming really pervasive. It has a lot of IQ, a lot of cognitive intelligence, but it has literally no emotional intelligence at all. As I'm sure you know from both your personal and your professional life, EQ matters. Our emotional intelligence predicts how persuasive we are, how likable we are, our ability to motivate other individuals. I believe that that's true for technology that's interacting with us on a day to day basis.

Researchers have developed a robot that can identify, assess and pick lettuce without damaging it


In another sign that smart technology is transforming the farming industry, engineers at the University of Cambridge have developed a robot that uses machine learning to pick lettuce. The robot, dubbed "Vegebot", has been designed to first identify iceberg lettuce and then decide if it is healthy and ready to be picked, the university said Monday. If this is the case, it will then cut the lettuce without damaging it. The Vegebot was first trained to identify and pick the delicate crop in a laboratory and has now undertaken successful tests in a range of field conditions. The university added that while the prototype device was neither as fast or efficient as a human, it showed how robots could be used in agriculture on a wider scale.