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#WeRobot Tenth Anniversary: Virtual but Still Vital

#WeRobot had a great Workshop day; now the heavy lifting begins.

See the Program page for the next two days’ schedule and for links to all the papers, demos, and more.

Our conference software allows a healthy back-channel discussion, and this was in full form yesterday–expect even more today.

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Michelle Johnson Will Moderate the Health Robotics Panel

Michelle Johnson

Michelle Johnson is the moderator for the Field Robotics panel at 4:30pm on Saturday, September 25th at #werobot. The panel will feature the following papers:

Somebody That I Used to Know: The Risks of Personalizing Robots for Dementia Care by Alyssa KubotaMaryam Pourebadi, Sharon BanhSoyon Kim, and Laurel D. Riek

Diverse Patient Perspectives on the Role of AI and Big Data in Healthcare
Kelly BergstrandJess FindleyChristopher RobertsonMarv Slepian, and Andrew Woods

Prescribing Exploitation
Charlotte Tschider

Her research is centered in the area of robot-mediated rehabilitation. She is focused on the investigation and rehabilitation of dysfunction due to aging, neural disease, and neural injury. In particular, she is interested in 1) exploring the relationships between brain plasticity and behavioral/motor control changes after robot-assisted interventions; 2) quantifying motor impairment and motor control of the upper limb in real world tasks such as drinking; and 3) defining the methods to maintain therapeutic effectiveness while administering local and remote, robot-mediated interventions.

She directs the Rehabilitation Robotics Lab at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. This is a new Lab within the Department of Physical, Medicine, and Rehabilitation in the School of Medicine. The Rehabilitation Robotics Lab mission is to use robotics, rehabilitation, and neuroscience techniques to translate research findings into the development of assistive and therapeutic rehabilitation robots capable of functioning in real-world rehabilitation environments. Michelle and the Lab’s goal is to improve the quality of life and function on activities of daily living (ADLs) of their target population in supervised or under-supervised settings.

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Edward Tunstel Will Moderate the Field Robotics Panel

Edward Tunstel

Edward Tunstel is the moderator for the #WeRobot Field Robotics panel at 1:45pm on Friday, September 24th. The panel will feature the following papers:

Robots in the Ocean
Annie Brett

Smart Farming and Governing AI in East Africa: Taking Gendered Relations and Vegetal Beings into Account
Jeremy de BeerLaura FosterChidi OguamanamKatie Szilagyi, and Angeline Wairegi

On the Practicalities of Robots in Public Spaces
Cindy Grimm and Kristen Thomasen

Edward Tunstel received his B.S. and M.E. degrees in Mechanical Engineering, with a concentration in robotics, from Howard University. His thesis addressed the use of AI-based symbolic computation for automated modeling of robotic manipulators / arms. In 1989 he joined the Robotic Intelligence Group at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) supporting research & development activities on NASA planetary rover projects. As a JPL Fellow he received the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of New Mexico. His dissertation addresses distributed fuzzy logic & knowledge-based control of adaptive hierarchical behavior-based systems with application to mobile robot navigation.

After 18 years at JPL, Dr. Tunstel joined the Space Department of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in 2007 as its Space Robotics and Autonomous Control Lead and later served as Senior Roboticist in its Research & Exploratory Development Department and Intelligent Systems Center. After a decade with APL, Dr. Tunstel directed robotics R&D at the United Technologies Research Center for several years before joining Motiv Space Systems, Inc., where he is currently the CTO. He is a Fellow of IEEE and Jr. Past President of the IEEE SMC Society, having previously served as its President, in several of its VP roles, and as General Chair of the 2011 IEEE SMC conference. He is an active member of the IEEE SMC Technical Committees on Robotics & Intelligent Sensing, on Brain-Inspired Cognitive Systems, and on Model-Based Systems Engineering, IEEE RAS Technical Committee on Space Robotics, and the AIAA Space Automation and Robotics Technical Committee. He is an Associate Editor or Editorial Board Member of five international engineering journals. He previously served as Chief Technologist of NSBE Space, a special interest group of NSBE Professionals, and held memberships in the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, the New York Academy of Sciences, and ASME.

In academia, he is an adjunct faculty member of Deakin University in Australia, holds the distinction of Honorary Professor at Obuda University in Hungary, chairs an advisory board for an autonomy center of excellence (TECHLAV) at N.C. A&T State University, and has also served as NASA Technical Monitor for undergraduate student research programs and for NASA Faculty Awards for Research as well as co-advisor and committee member for graduate thesis and dissertation research at several universities. He has authored over 170 journal, book chapter and conference publications, and has edited or co-authored 5 books in his areas of expertise.

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Robots in the Ocean

Annie Brett

Annie Brett will present her paper, Robots in the Ocean, on Friday, September 24th at #werobot 2021. Edward Tunstel will lead the 1:45pm – 3:15pm panel on Field Robotics.

Academics (and particularly legal academics) have not paid much attention to robots in the ocean. The small amount of existing work is focused on relatively narrow questions, from whether robots qualify as vessels under the Law of the Sea to whether robotic telepresence can be used to establish a salvage claim on shipwrecks.

This paper looks at how two major robotic advances are creating fundamental challenges for current ocean governance frameworks. The first is a proliferation in robots actively altering ocean conditions through both exploitative alteration, such as deep sea mining, and alteration with conservation goals, such as waste removal. This is best illustrated by The Ocean Cleanup, who defied warnings from scientists in deploying an ocean waste capture prototype that became irreparable merely six months into its voyage. The second is in observational robots that are being used, primarily by scientific and defense entities, to further understand of ocean ecosystems and human activities in them.

Edward Tunstel (moderator)

Annie Brett focuses on the regulatory grey area of international law implicated by robots with the capacity to actively alter ocean conditions. She also focuses on analogues in terrestrial environmental law and climate geoengineering literature to propose a mechanism for regulating robotic interventions in the ocean. Specifically, she argues for a modified form of environmental impact review that attempts to strike a balance between allowing innovation in ocean robots and providing a measure of oversight for interventions that have the potential to permanently alter ocean ecosystems.

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