This year International Symposium on Ambient Intelligence and Embedded Systems had the privilege to host our colleagues Kalle Tammemäe and Fuad Budagov as participants and speakers.
26th International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning and 52nd IGIP International Conference on Engineering Pedagogy (ICL2023) took place in Madrid on 26-29 September 2023. Jaanus Pöial made a presentation „Using telepresence robots for ICT consultancy“, the first author of which was Janika Leoste, and on the cover photo you can see both of them guarding the conference banner.
The town of Viljandi in not among those you ever heard of, unless you are from Estonia yourself, however Viljandi hospital is one of the biggest in the country as it provides its service to a substantial part of it.
But what sets Viljandi hospital apart is not just its idyllic location; it is an innovative hospital with professional staff that embraces new technology, and we were wondering if telepresence robots could be just the one. Intrigued? So were we.
Summer School for Educational Technologies is an annual event dedicated to modern technologies in teaching and this year (with our assistance) Temi decided to participate. About 100 teachers and educational technologists had a chance to familiarize themselves with Temi capabilities and discuss the possible applications in teaching/learning process.
Although we ourselves focus on higher education, it was important to investigate opportunities for using telepresence robots in secondary schools and test Temi’s Estonian voice recognition. Maia Lust, an educational technologist from Tallinna Pae Upper Secondary School and a PhD student of Tallinn University wrote a brief memo of the event.
Today, 22.08.2023, at the summer school for teachers of informatics and mathematics and educational technologists at Tallinn University of Technology, post-doctoral researcher Janika Leoste introduced Temi robot assistant to teachers, which made some of them marvel at the technological advances in robotics.
In her presentation, Janika showed a video on the possibilities of implementing the robot, followed by a lively discussion on how such a robot could be implemented in a school environment and how students and teachers would feel about it.
It was a common agreement that such a smart gadget would certainly facilitate, for example, collecting notebooks in an open classroom, thus saving time for the teacher, or distributing teaching materials. One possibility was to use Temi when the teacher has troubles speaking, in which case the teacher could enter the necessary text and the robot would recite it to the students, leaving the teacher to coordinate, guide and monitor the learning process. It was also agreed that, although all sorts of smart and advanced text-to-speech technologies and static video transmissions exist today, a mobile robot would be more engaging for students and draw their interest. Unfortunately, it was acknowledged that, as the current cost of the robot is approximately half of the price of a computer class, it is not currently feasible to have such a robot in schools.
However, there was also a discussion about the possibility of sharing such robots, if they were offered to schools for a fixed period of time, either by universities or municipalities.
It has to be said that the learning process was a success, and some participants stayed after the end of the workshop to learn more about Temi and improve their diction communicating with the robot.
TalTech innovation festival is a yearly event that is dedicated to some stirring problems in technology domain. This year the slogan of the festival was “Health comes from TalTech” and though our students studying day and night in pursuit of knowledge may argue on that, we cannot agree more that Tallinn University of Technology research is tightly related to medicine, healthcare, and by all means telepresence robots in healthcare.
Here is a link to a YouTube playlist with the recordings of the event (mostly in Estonian).