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Last modified: Thursday, April 15, 2010

Meet and greet the robots at School of Informatics and Computing's R-House open house Friday

April 15, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The public is invited to visit Indiana University's new R-House, a very, very, very fine house -- minus the two cats in the yard, but with robots included -- this Friday (April 16) as IU's School of Informatics and Computing unveils its newest learning laboratory. Robots -- that's what the "R" in R-House stands for -- unlike the cats, are not only welcome but encouraged at this research center in robotics and human-robot interaction.

robotics photo

Photo by Aaron Bernstein

IU computer science graduate student Santosh Govindaraj works on a robotic arm at the IU School of Informatics and Computing's new R-House living lab established for the study of robotics. The public is invited to an open house tomorrow (April 16) from 4 to 7 p.m. at the new lab.

Print-Quality Photo

With robots being predicted to one day be as pervasive as the Web is today, a group of five IU professors and researchers from Informatics, Computing and Cognitive Science will use R-House to take students into the world of artificial intelligence, human-robot interaction, evolutionary robotics and beyond as interest in robot-based applications from assisted surgery to housecleaning and search-and-rescue missions is expected to burgeon. South Korea, for example, last year announced it would spend over $1 billion to build two robot theme parks to promote the growth industry.

The event will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the new R-House domestic robotics lab at 919 East 13th Street, or the corner of 13th and Forrest Avenue. Students, faculty and staff will showcase projects in robot perception and action, human-robot interaction, and cognitive science, including live demos, simulations, and poster presentations. Judging for a student robotics competition will occur at 6:30 p.m., but demonstrations will run continuously during the event.

"The new R-House is a 'living lab' for research in robotics and human-robot interaction that was established by the School of Informatics and Computing in January 2010 in order to bring together social and technical researchers to collaborate on the study and design of assistive robotic technologies for the home," said Kris Hauser, an assistant professor of computer science.

Hauser will join cognitive science professor Randall Beer, informatics assistant professor Selma Sabanovic, cognitive science and computer science associate professor Matthias Scheutz, and cognitive science research associate Paul Schermerhorn in overseeing research at the lab where at least four graduate students and one doctoral candidate currently have work under way.

The event is being held in coordination with the U.S.'s first-ever National Robotics Week (April 10-18), an educative and advocacy event designed to recognize the U.S. as a leader in robotics technology development, offer the public a venue to learn about how robotics technology impacts society, raise a voice for increased funding for robotics technology research and development and inspire students of all ages to pursue careers in robotics and other science, technology, engineering, and math-related fields.

Indiana University is one of more than 35 universities, organizations and companies conducting events during National Robotics Week, which is being coordinated by a National Robotics Week Advisory Council, organized by iRobot Corp. and The Technology Collaborative, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit economic development organization.

For more information or to speak with researchers at R-House, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or