On June 16th I have been at the 1st symposium of the NCCR robotics in Zurich but since then I didn’t have the chance to blog something about it. So, briefly, a couple of invited speakers with quite diverse backgrounds were addressing the topic of “robots for daily life”. Besides some very interesting insights in recent research on brain-machine interfaces (Prof. Miguel Nicolelis) and artificial tissues (Prof. Stéphanie Lacour), one talk also addressed ethical and legal challenges (Dr. Susanne Beck & Jan-Philipp Günther). The most entertaining speaker was probably Prof. Emer. Rodney Brooks (also co-founder of iRobot) who kind of described challenges in the robot industry and its differences to academic robotic research. One of his key points was that “robots must be easy to use“. For more details on that, you might want to read this interview with Rodney Brooks and ETH Life. In the end, a question that came up several times and somehow left unanswered was: “What is a robot?“. The panel discussion in the afternoon showed that answers to this question are far from pointing in the same direction. There seems to be no common answer to this question! Why do you think is it like that?
(Photo: Philippe Neidhart / ETH Zurich)