Date(s) - 04/17/19
12:00 am - 2:00 am

Grand Stafford Theater

Categories No Categories

Dr. Robin R. Murphy :: Robotics Through Science Fiction

Dr. Robin R. Murphy will give a short presentation on science fiction and science facts about robots. Science fiction often reflects anxieties, especially will there be a robot uprising, and many popular works of fiction contain a high dose of “technobabble.” However, science fiction can help illustrate important concepts in real robots. Dr. Robin R. Murphy will review some of these from her new book: Robotics Through Science Fiction: Artificial Intelligence Explained Through Six Classic Robot Short Stories (MIT Press, 2018), monthly articles for Science Robotics, and blog at

Dr. Robin R. Murphy is the Raytheon Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University and a director of Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue, and an IEEE Fellow. She specializes in human-robot interaction and human-centered AI for ground, air, and marine robots. She is the author of over 150 papers and four books including the award-winning Disaster Robotics, a TED speaker, and founder of Roboticists Without Borders. She has deployed ground, air, and marine robots to over 28 disasters in five countries including the 9/11 World Trade Center, Katrina, and Fukushima, Hurricane Harvey and the Kilauea volcanic eruption. Her innovative teaching style has resulted in Robotics Through Science Fiction: Artificial Intelligence Explained Through Six Classic Stories (MIT Press) and the Robotics Through Science Fiction blog.

Dr. Francis Quek :: Supporting Distance for Hands-On Physically-Oriented Learning through TelePresence Robotics with Augmented Reality

Distance learning has enjoyed explosive growth, promising to provide both general and professional learning opportunities to anyone with the interest, motivation, and access to an Internet connection. However, while MOOCS and video-based instruction can work quite well for lecture and conceptual subject matter, distance instruction for more physically predicated learning that requires hands-on teaching is more difficult with current distance communication technology.

We have been conducing a project at the Texas-Mexican border where TAMU-based personnel mentored and instructed high school students in a pre-engineering program that required significant hands-on knowledge. This project uncovered the limitations of screen-based telecommunications technology for such instruction and learning. We surmised that the lack of embodied presence and language (including instructional gestures) support contributes to the disconnect experienced by our instructors and the students. We posited that supporting a more embodied-form of communication through a telepresence robot and augmenting this with visual gestural displays can help to ameliorate this disconnect. We conducted a set of short pilot experiments to explore this hypothesis and produced as set of recommendations for future distance robot and augmented-reality designs.

Francis Quek is founding director of the Texas A&M Institute for Technology-Infused Learning (TITIL) and Professor of Visualization, and Computer Science and Engineering and Psychology – by courtesy. He joined Texas A&M University as an interdisciplinary President’s Signature Hire to bridge disparities in STEM. Formerly he has been the Director of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech.  Francis received both his B.S.E. summa cum laude (1984) and M.S.E. (1984) in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.  He completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the same university in 1990. Francis is a member of the IEEE and ACM.

He performs research in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), learning sciences and technology, embodied interaction, embodied learning, HCI for accessibility (especially for individuals with blindness), multimodal verbal/non-verbal interaction, multimodal meeting analysis, vision-based interaction, multimedia databases, medical imaging, assistive technology for the blind, human computer interaction, computer vision, and computer graphics.