The international conference on robotics and automation (icra) was already one of the largest conferences on robotics worldwide. However, the annual event, which was officially opened on sunday, was able to evaluate the past years again: from the "longste and probably best visited scientific robotics conference of all time" speak the organizers in a message.
Virtual robotic conference
Originally, the icra had to take place in paris, where about 4.000 visitors was expected. The covid-19 pandemic has prevented that, so that the participants have to organize their exchange of ideas over the internet now. Because this requires more time than in personal encounters, the conference was destroyed by originally five days to several months, as program chair wolfram burgard is coming in an interview. Press spokesman christian duriez explained that within a week already more than 4.300 participants had registered.
About 1.600 studies are presented on the icra, most of the form of video recordings that remain available at least at least late august. There are live events, including a fulle of fulle of workshops, of which the first took place on sunday, as well as plenary forwards and keynotes.
Robot as a helper in the pandemic
The prelude made a forum for the question on monday, which can contribute the robotics to the evidence of the covid-19 pandemic. Several participants exults significant satisfaction about that the attitude in the population had changed against robots. They were now accepted better, said robin murphy (texas at university). 21 countries were used robots, for example, to maintain public security, in the care or to maintain operation in companies and educational institutions. Many new and creative applications have been developed.
Richard voyles (purdue university) was enthusiastic about how rosig is the future of robotics. He underlined his association with a video of a chinese robot, which measures the body temperature in humans and referred to robots that disinfect their surroundings. Also the moderator of the discussion, ken goldberg (university of california berkeley), said that was afraid of robots disappeared. There is a new attitude towards technology. In addition, the prices for robots were clearly down.
The application possibilities are varied: drones were able to convince in the open-mindedness of embassies, such as greater abandonment between the persons, helen greiner (asaalt) suggested. The flying robots could also transport blood and tie samples to search for missing persons or do smaller purchases and thus reduce the risk of infection. Kerstin thurow from the center for life science automation (celisca) at the university of rostock referred to possibilities to accelerate virus testing by automation. Ayanna howard (georgia tech) called the clinical rehabilitation, which is usually very contact-intensive than another area, where robot technology could reduce the risks of infection.
However, howard also won considered: what are well suited for robotics researchers, is not necessarily good for people. It is important to keep an eye on one-sidedness and bias. "Be inclusive", challenged she. Nobody can be excluded from the specimen of technology.
Cheap robot helpers
Antonio bicchi of the italian institute of robotics and intelligent machines (i-rim) reported on how the robotics researchers in italy have thought about the corona crisis in day-to-day meetings in the end of february. On the one hand, that did for surveys who were released several times to find out what is most urged by the people most urgently. On the other hand, in collaboration with the maker scene is trying to "low hanging fruit" to harvest and develop fast and favorable functions with available technology. As an example, bicchi called teleprasenz robots for use in the elderly care, which use vacuum cleaner robots as a mobile platform.
Most importantly, it is so bicchi to hate people and take their needs seriously. So it was not a good idea to deliver the food in hospital streams of robots: "patients need human contact."
Limits of the virtual robot conference
Also need conference participants: the lack of personal encounters became the most regretted at the this year’s virtual conference, said wolfram burgard in a worsening press conference: "tight followed by paris."
After the first live event, add: it’s also missing the room. The forum presented a fulle of interesting and exciting ideas and thoughts in 90 minutes, but in the narrow frame of a monitor but hardly had a chance to unfold. There was also a certain hustleist to traces, as if the participants have been worried about providing much content in the limited period of time. But that is no wonder given such a premiere. It’s not about the technique that worked well, but around the people who need to learn only to talk in this way.
With regard to the measurable response, the organizers of the conference were highly satisfied. "We had 1979 participants from 60 countries", said wolfram burgard. "That’s a gross success."