Mission Linz

On October 26-30, some of our team was on an exploration mission to the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria.

On Thursday, we had an interesting discussion of human-computer interaction, telepresence and various other topics at the Institute of Telecooperation with Dr Ismail Khalil and Dr Karin Anna Hummel. Several ideas for future cooperation were found.

at the Institute of Telecooperation, JKU
At the Institute of Telecooperation (from left): Dr Hummel, Dr Khalil, Aleksei, Katrin K., Kristel and Kaido (Janika is behind the cam).

On Friday, Janika and Aleksei had talks to an international company of teachers participating in the ERASMUS+ STEAM Upgrade programme. Janika, Kristel and Katrin also had a meeting with the Professor of STEAM Education Research Methods Zsolt Lavicza as well as some other colleagues from the JKU.

International visitors – via telepresence

Today, we had visitors at CM – all of them used our new robotic surrogate bodies. First, we had Dr Piedad Tolmos Rodríguez-Piñero from King Juan Carlos University (Madrid, Spain), later we also hosted Dr Chris Brownell and Prof Päivi Häkkinen from the Finnish Institute for Educational Research (Jyväskylä, Finland).

Mirror, mirror...
Mirror, mirror upon the wall… (Photos taken with a Double robot)

After discussing our prospective cooperation in telepresence robotics and didactics, we also took our quests to a small campus tour – some of us in our natural state, others using the robots.

The ReSTELA project starting

Today we took part of the Zoom kick-off meeting of the ReSTELA (Remote STEM Labs) ERASMUS+ project which aims to develop a new ecosystem for (especially rural) teachers for teaching robotics. The three-year project brings together ECECT (lead partner, Cyprus), Scuola di Robotica (Italy) and Tallinn University of Technology.

Janika and Kaido introduced our university and lab as well as discussed several matters regarding the project with other partners.

Creativity mattered – at the PYNT community follow-up meeting

About 20 people from the PYNT community established last Spring gathered at the TalTech IT College today. In addition to academic staff, we also had a number of medics from Ida-Tallinna Keskhaigla, a major hospital in Tallinn.

Our team ran a series of experiments involving four Double 3 telepresence robots – we had prepared a short imaginary scenario involving a professor and a student discussing homework. Each participant had to go through this both using the Double and his/her ordinary self, and with both a previously known and an unknown partner.

An even more fun part was the ‘robot theatre’ where the participants teamed up and had about half an hour to prepare a short sketch involving both a Double user and ‘live’ participants. Among those, we witnessed (a wacky kind of) giving birth, a bunch of seniors nagging on an advisor, and a funky family (with Mum being away and giving orders via robot)…  It was proven that medics need a strong sense of humour. 🙂

The next PYNT community meeting was set to December. Stay tuned!

Katrin, Kaido and the robots
The preparatory meeting a day before: Katrin, Kaido and the Doubles

PYNT community kick-off meeting

We hosted the PYNT (Present Yet Not There) community kick-off meeting on June 16. PYNT is an emerging community of practice involving researchers and educators interested in various applications of telepresence robotics in education (e.g. allowing greater participation for students who cannot attend due to health or other issues).

PYNT meeting 16.06.22

Meeting with partners

This Thursday, we had a pleasant opportunity to host a meeting with a number of visitors from different countries, including Piedad Tolmos Rodríguez-Piñero from King Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain; Sirpa Laitinen-Vaananen from AMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland;Branko Andij from Johan Kepler University, Linz, Austria, and Simon Molnár from Óbuda University, Budapest, Hungary.  Most of our staff were also there, resulting in a lively discussion and some ideas for future cooperation.

Visitors @ CM 09.06.22

Regular meetings

… of the research group started on Thursday, May 5. We’ll meet on Thursdays till summer break.

Also, most of the group members have their photos and brief introductions online under the People section – clicking on the photo will lead to the person’s profile page in the Estonian Research Information System (ETIS).

Workshop @ iduEDU

We took part in the iduEDU 2022 educational festival in the Tallinn Secondary School of Science. The workshop titled “What if the teacher comes to the class as a robot?” brought in about a dozen people and resulted in a lively discussion. Janika telepresented herself via a Double 3 robot (she was physically in Norway). Jaanus and Kaido were present in person – but the perceived difference was pretty marginal, we were all there. 🙂

iduEDU 2022
CreativeMatters workshop @ iduEDU 2022