Towards Disruptive Technologies for Wellbeing: Explorations in Affective VR, Telepresence Robotics and Social Transference
Recent advancements in technology led to the development of fully functional Virtual Reality (VR) applications and games. Their potential is enormous –VR headsets have already found their way into the homes of thousands of people and VR gaming is currently being explored for education, training and therapy. VR has brought a new degree of immersion, referred to as presence – the feeling of ‘being there’ in the virtual world. Similarly, robotic telepresence provides the user with the feeling of physically ‘being there’ through a robot avatar. Physical presence is created for a remotely located human (teleoperator) by reproducing their verbal and nonverbal behaviours (e.g. speech, gestures, facial expressions) on a robotic platform. How disruptive are these technologies for wellbeing, by enabling us to ‘be there’? How far are we from really ‘being there’? In this talk, I will present our recent explorations in affective VR, and autonomous and tele-presence social robotics with the goal of creating technology that is sensitive to phenomena such as affect, engagement and personality and their potential use for wellbeing. I will conclude my talk with a brief overview of the live, repeatable performance event we organised to investigate social transference in public spaces through influencers of lyrics, rhythm and LED.
Dr. Hatice Gunes is a University Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in the Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge. Her research expertise is in the areas of affective computing and social signal processing that lie at the crossroad of multimodal interaction, computer vision, signal processing, and machine learning fields applied to computer/robot mediated human-human interactions and human-robot interactions. She has published over 100 papers in these areas and received a number of awards for Outstanding Paper Award (IEEE FG’11, Best Demo (IEEE ACII’09), and Best Student Paper (VisHCI’06). Her recent work has been focusing on Digital Personhood through the EPSRC Being There Project (2013-2017) that aimed to investigate greater social integration in public spaces, and to increase access to public spaces in robot proxy forms. Dr Gunes is the Guest Editor of the Frontiers in Robotics and AI’s Research Topic on Affective and Social Signals for HRI, the President-Elect of the Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing (AAAC) and the Chair of the Steering Board of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing. Her current research commitment is to embrace the challenges present in the areas of health, and equality and diversity to bring positive behavioural change, and ultimately empower the lives of people through technology. She is a member of the Cambridge Global Challenges Forum that aims to enhance the contribution of the University’s research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
This event is being recorded. There will be a video link shortly after the event.