The CARE Group is actively committed to support outreach activities, especially by offering engaging experiences to young students and hosting both virtual and actual visits to our laboratories.
See below the details of our recent outreach activities. These were conducted in association with the TAS Open Labs project, an exciting new project where members of the public were able to remotely control a robot in a university laboratory from their own computer or laptop. Young students were able to experience the inner workings of our lab through the ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ of the robot that they were operating.
Through this immersive experience, they had an understanding and appreciation of what happens inside university lab spaces. We want people to understand that university labs are open to everyone and by using simple technology at home or school, we can open up areas that may previously have seemed inaccessible.
The virtual visit to our laboratories using tele-presence robots at all these events have been facilitated by researchers involved in the OpenTAS project using tele-presence software developed by Cybserselves Universal Ltd. The project has created the infrastructure for access via web/VR interfaces and telepresence laboratories researching Trustworthy Autonomous Systems (TAS). This contributes to the TAS Hub commitment to promote responsible research and innovation, engaging openly with the wider public about research plans and activities in TAS.
The Robotic Assisted Living Testbed (RALT) at Heriot-Watt University is a ‘Living-Lab’ home-like environment designed to facilitate user-driven design and testing of innovative ICT Robotic solutions for healthy ageing and independent living.
Further information on the robots used at these events can be found at the following links:
May 25, 2022
Two days of STEM based activities held in Kelso with the first day pupils from schools all over the Borders attending. Dr Alistair McConnell and Dr Samantha Clark led the HWU contribution where the pupils had the opportunity to learn how to code a simulated Miro robot before sending the code to the robot right next to them and watch it move. They were also able to program a set of Cozmos robots in different tasks and drive one of our telepresence robots, remotely, to visit our Robotic Assisted Living Testbed (RALT). Finally, two research assistants Esther Rayssiguie and Karolina Judzentyte demonstrated and answered questions about the Spot robot from Boston Dynamics, a quadruped and their career paths.
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May 18, 2022
A daylong conference held at Heriot-Watt University with teachers coming from around the Lothians to both learn about the latest research being done at the University and what type of outreach and engagement activities we could collaborate on. For this event Dr Alistair McConnell gave a presentation on the latest work being conducted in the areas of Computer Science in Heriot-Watt including work done in the different research groups, such as the Vale Group, CARE Group, Interactive and Trustworthy Technologies Group, LAIV: Lab for AI Verification and the Interaction Lab.
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May 17, 2022
Two separate days of robotics inspired careers events, the pupils were given a short presentation of the career path of Dr. Alistair McConnell, followed by a chance to navigate around the Robotic Assisted Living Testbed using a telepresence robot: They could talk to the researchers working there and ask them questions about their work and how they got to where they are now. While this was going on, the pupils were split into two groups: Some of them wrote code for the Miro robots, programming them to avoid obstacles or to play football against each other.
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May 12, 2022
One hour short visit from 8 students from Woodlands School, hosted by Dr. Samantha Clark and Dr. Mauro Dragone. The students programmed a set of Spheros robots in different tasks and also drive one of our telepresence robots, remotely, to make a virtual visit to our Robotic Assisted Living Testbed (RALT).
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May 10, 2022
One hour short visit from 27 P7s (11 years old) students from St. Cuthbert’s’ Primary, hosted by Scott MacLeod, Dr. Samantha Clark and Dr Alistair McConnell. The students programmed a set of Spheros robots in different tasks and also drive one of our telepresence robots, remotely. The latter provided the students with a way to “visit” one of our robotic laboratories: Students used a web-browser to control the movements of the telepresence robot while engaging in a video call to interact with the researchers there. They explored different rooms of our Robotic Assisted Living Testbed (RALT) and discovered some of the robots that are currently being developed for helping people in their home.
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