Robots move a step closer towards the human world as Roboticist Angelica Lim demonstrates the empathetic and emotional potential of our electronic partners.
For many of us, the word “robot” probably inspires our imaginations and brings back memories of science fiction stories or television shows, or perhaps cartoon characters from our childhoods. Up until now robots have been thought of as either fictional creations or disembodied factory mechanisms slated to performing rote tasks. Angelica Lim, however, sees robots, and their potential quite differently. When Angelica Lim thinks of the word “robot”, she envisions a future filled with a panoply of useful, accessible and empathetic robots helping us along in our oh-so-human lives. Angelica, a computer scientist currently pursing her Ph.D. in Intelligence Science at Kyoto University, has added her passion and determination to numerous projects in robotics, ranging from an underwater autonomous vehicle to audio-visual emotion processing for humanoids to gesture recognition for human-robot interaction. Her most recent project has been her work on a music-playing robot which has been featured at international conferences, in magazines and on TV, and for which she won an IROS NTF Award in Entertainment Robots and Systems in 2010. So does our future include responsive, empathetic and humanoid robots? With inspired and passionate scientists such as Angelica Lim leading the way, there is only one answer: yes.