Star Wars – Where Science Meets Imagination. These photographs were a series photographer Stephen Hollingsworth did at the Tech Museum in San Jose, California. Since Star Wars took place a long time ago, the idea was to take vintage photographs of the exhibit.
(A young woman is smiling towards the left of the picture, and is sitting at a desk, with one hand touching a white encased robot.)
Cynthia Breazeal: Why she kicks ass
She is an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she is the director of the Personal Robots Group (formerly the Robotic Life Group) at the MIT Media Laboratory. She is best known for her work in robotics where she is recognized as a pioneer of Social Robotics and Human Robot Interaction. In 2003, she was named to the MITTechnology ReviewTR100 as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.
She developed the robot Kismet as a doctoral thesis looking into expressive social exchange between humans and humanoid robots. Kismet is internationally recognized, and is one of the best known robots developed to explore social and emotional aspects of human-robot interaction.
Kismet and some of the other robots Breazeal co-developed while a graduate student at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, can be found at the MIT Museum. Notable examples include the upper torso humanoid robot Cog and the insect-like robot Hannibal.
She continues to work on social interaction and socially situated learning between people and robots.
The successor to Kismet, Leonardo, another globally recognized robot (co-developed with Stan Winston Studio and recognized in 2006 by Wired Magazine as one of the “50 Best Robots Ever”) is used to investigate social cognition and Theory of Mind abilities on robots with application to human-robot collaboration, in addition to developing social learning abilities for robots such as imitation, tutelage, and social referencing.
Nexi is the most recent robot in this tradition (awarded a TIME Magazine 50 Best Inventions of 2008). Nexi is a MDS robot (Mobile, Dexterous, Social) that combines rich social communication abilities with mobile dexterity to investigate more complex forms of human-robot teaming.
Other social robots developed in Breazeal’s Personal Robots Group include Autom, a robot diet and exercise coach that was found to be more effective than a computer counterpart in sustaining engagement and building trust and a working alliance with users. Autom is in the process of being commercialized.
Breazeal’s group has also explored expressive remote presence robots (for example, MeBot and Huggable). The physical social embodiment of the MeBot was found to elicit greater psychological involvement, engagement, and desire to cooperate over purely screen based video conferencing or a mobile screen.
She is also is recognized as a designer and innovator on the national and global stage. She received the Gilbreth Lectures Award by the National Academy of Engineering in 2008, and has spoken at a number of prominent global events including the World Science Festival, the World Economic Forum, and TEDWomen.
She is a featured scientist in the Women’s Adventures in Science series (sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences), and in 2003, Breazeal was recognized as a Finalist in the National Design Awards in Communication at the White House.
She also has a prominent role as a virtual participant in a popular exhibit on robots with the traveling exhibit, Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, interacting with a real C-3PO (voiced by Anthony Daniels as she spoke to the audience through a pre-recorded message displayed on a large plasma flat-screen display.
What do you think about the Human race as architects?
It is my humble opinion that Architecture is one of the greatest accomplishments of the human race. It is one of those rare places where art, science and imagination meet for the common good (and probably evil too) .