Research group at Tallinn University of Technology

Would you keep away from a robot?

Would you keep away from a robot?

As we all know (and heard many jokes about), different people have their own understanding of the distance to maintain during communication. Factors such as personality, culture, and, well, eyesight :-) play a role. So during one of our discussions we asked ourselves a question: how far would a person stand from a telepresence robot during the communication with a person controlling it? After all, it is a person you are talking to. Or a robot? To understand it better, our research group conducted an experiment during one of our workshops.

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Telepresence robots video quality and interaction study

Telepresence robots video quality and interaction study

The experiment tool place durig PYNT community annual meeting on December 15 at TalTech. It was prefaced with a seminar where certain topics regarding human-robot interaction were covered by the team members and our partners.

Janika Leoste opened the seminar with a keynote based on her report “Are telepresence robots here to stay” that was followed by a presentation on a topic “Take the power of storytelling and gamification” by John Heijligers and “Lecturing versus active learning” that continued with a discussion about the reasons students or lecturers sometimes resist active learning and are there any ways to support them in embracing new methodic.

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Seminar with Endhoven University and Jyväskylä University

Seminar with Endhoven University and Jyväskylä University

On December 14th and 15th, 2022, our cooperation partners from the Universities of Jyväskylä and Eindhoven visited IT College, where they met the members of our research group: Janika Leoste, Kalle Tammemäe, Jaanus Pöial, Tariq Meeran, and Kristel Marmor. We gave an overview of the experiments and research we conducted with remote-controlled robots in 2022. Our colleagues Johanna Pöysä-Tarhonen, Päivi Häkkinen, Kristof Fenyvesi, and Takumi Yada from Jyväskylä University introduced innovative methods of education research. Martijn Klabbers and John Heijligers from Eindhoven University discussed why to use challenge-based learning method in education - not for faster or better learning, but to be able to search, explore, and add new knowledge and solve real-world problems. John Heijligers shared his thoughts on how to make educational videos - through storytelling. We exchanged ideas on what scientific topics are of mutual interest to us and agreed on joint scientific projects to pursue in 2023.

Meeting at TalTech Techology Transfer Center

Meeting at TalTech Techology Transfer Center

On December 13, 2022, Janika Leoste, Katrin Kangur, and Kristel Marmor visited the technology transfer center of Taltech to present a start grant on the topic of telepresence robots in hospital work.
The proposal highlighted the benefits of using a telepresence robot in comparison to communication through other screens, and presented the flexible solutions that using a telepresence robot in a hospital can offer to doctors and nurses. We explained how the robot could facilitate information exchange between patients, hospital staff, and the patient’s relatives or acquaintances. The start grant would provide us with the opportunity to test the robots in both hospitals and simulation labs.
Our cooperation partners in this project are East Tallinn Central Hospital (Ida-Tallinna keskhaigla) and Tallinn Health College (Tallinna Tervishoiu Kõrgkool), who have also provided specific ideas and requests for the use of telepresence robots

Janika and artificial intelligence predicting the future of telepresence robots

Janika and artificial intelligence predicting the future of telepresence robots

There has been a lot of hype about OpenAI chatbot that uses neural networks to give almost conscious answers and causing problems in schools because is writes outstanding essays and working computer code, so we decided to put its forecasting abilities to test. Although the AI was very cautions in its predictions, we generally agree to its opinion and Janika Leoste delivered a keynote on the same topic earlier this week.

Although somewhat longer, the keynote gives in-depth analysis of the current situation and suggests possible prospects for the use of telepresence robots both in general and in higher education in particular, and we sincerely recommend watching it.