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Nijholt A.,Imagineering Institute | Nijholt A.,University of Twente
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing | Year: 2017

In future smart environments sensors and actuators know about the environment’s inhabitants and visitors. This knowledge allows them to predict and suggest activities and behavior and even to take care that certain activities and behavior are enforced on inhabitants and visitors. For example, in a potential dangerous situation a car driver can be alerted, can be given a limited number of choices or the car can take over. Similar environmental behavior, not necessarily involving danger, can happen in domestic, urban and office or other professional environments. Humans have now become part of the Internet of Things. Wearables, clothes, body sensors, smart tattoos and implants allow the environment to monitor a user, but also to guide and steer a user in a way and a direction that suits the environment and those who own or maintain the environment. In this paper we investigate how a smart environment can use its smartness to create funny and humorous situations by suggesting or enforcing particular activities and behavior of its human inhabitants. In order to do so we have to look at how actor behavior and activity is modeled in storytelling research. In this research we have actors, but sometimes also directors or the environment is called upon to act as a smart director. Rather than aiming at efficiency when guiding ‘actors’ in these environments, we can as well guide human and virtual actors towards situations that are humorous or potentially humorous. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017.


Andujar M.,University of Florida | Nijholt A.,University of Twente | Nijholt A.,Imagineering Institute | Gilbert J.E.,University of Florida
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing | Year: 2017

In this paper, we discuss the possibilities of adapting humorous smart technologies to the workplace. Also, we discuss the precautions that need to be taken when introducing the theories of humor. We explore adapting the theories of humor and the pros and cons of integrating it in the workplace. We believe the adaptation of this technology will help current and future employees at companies to improve and retain their happiness. We also provide a brief explanation of the different types of humorous technologies: mobile, physical, and virtual and how they can be beneficial in the workplace. Suggestions of how to evaluate these systems are also provided. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017.


Friedman D.,The Interdisciplinary Center | Brouwer A.-M.,TNO | Nijholt A.,Imagineering Institute
International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, Proceedings IUI | Year: 2017

In principle, brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) hold the promise for being the ultimate intelligent interfaces - what could surpass an interface that is able to interpret your thoughts and preferences, in real time, and behave accordingly? In practice, it is still not quite clear if and how BCIs can contribute to or replace existing interaction paradigms. In the last 10-20 years BCI research focused on providing patients who lost their ability to communicate through the usual channels (speech) with ways of communication that are directly based on brain signals. While a lot of progress has been made, very few patients actually use BCI in their daily life. Moreover, it is not clear whether BCI has any advantage for non-clinical applications and for able-bodied individuals. Copyright is held by the owner/author(s).


Home > Press > EmTech Asia breaks new barriers with potential applications of space exploration with NASA and MIT Abstract: The fourth edition of EmTech Asia, co-organised by MIT Technology Review and Koelnmesse Pte Ltd, concluded on a high note after two days of stimulating and insightful discussions on the latest breakthroughs in science and technology. Held from 14 to 15 February at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, EmTech Asia was attended by over 600 like-minded individuals from 22 countries. This year’s line-up of speakers included some of the brightest minds in the areas of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, smart cities, space exploration, augmented and virtual reality, computing and materials science. “EmTech Asia is always a great event. We meet amazing men and women from around the world and we talk about technology that is going to change the future. There is work in bio-medical areas, in artificial intelligence, computer vision, virtual reality. It also gives many people a chance to get together and talk about new things they might be able to collaborate on, might be able to discover and, most importantly, how they can contribute to positive things for all of humanity. And we mean that sincerely, that’s why EmTech Asia is so important and that’s why Singapore is proud to host it.” said Steve Leonard (pictured above), Founding CEO of SGInnovate and Disruptive Innovation Partner of EmTech Asia. One of the key themes was space exploration, featuring speakers from NASA and MIT such as Dava Newman, Apollo Program Professor Chair, MIT and Former Deputy Director of NASA; and David Oh, Project Systems Engineer and Former Lead Flight Director, Curiosity Mars Rover, NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. Both speakers were also engaged in a conversational panel hosted by the ArtScience Museum (ASM) in collaboration with EmTech Asia. The panel was held in conjunction with the NASA exhibition at the ASM, and was attended by over 130 students, teachers and media representatives. The MIT Hacking Medicine Robotics Singapore 2017, was held the weekend leading up to EmTech Asia 2017 where the winners took to the stage to discuss their hackathon experiences and the potential for robotics to provide long-term solutions in elderly care and the overarching healthcare industry in Singapore. Held from 10 to 12 February at SGInnovate, the hackathon aimed to address unmet needs in elderly care and medicine and how robotics can play a role in aiding an ageing society. The winning team, Botler, created a patient-friendly autonomous transport for social robotics in eldercare. This year’s conference featured a session on materials science with Jackie Ying, Executive Director, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, A*STAR. Her presentation, Nanostructured Materials for Energy and Biomedical Applications, described the synthesis of metallic, metal oxide, semiconducting and organic nanoparticles and nanocomposites of controlled size, morphology and architecture while discussing their unique properties. The cybersecurity session was led by Walter O'Brien, CEO, Scorpion Computer Services and Executive Producer of hit TV series Scorpion, who spoke about how countries can better protect themselves against cyber security threats. According to Ron Cellini, Analog Garage/Emerging Business Group at Analog Devices and Cybersecurity Partner of the event, “The main take away from EmTech Asia is not just the ideas presented but the enthusiasm behind them. It is great to see the speakers go up the stage and feel the passion for what they are doing. What’s different at EmTech Asia compared to other conferences is the quality. The quality of the presentations, the quality of the folks you meet. You are not going to come here just to hear presentations that you’ve heard before. You’re going to hear things that are new and that challenge you. The pace, the interactivity with some of the talks, the ability of questioning that continually. This conference really encourages you to participate. I definitely met the right people here. I’ve got a whole stack of things I need to do when I leave this conference and for me that’s the best metric for when I go to conferences.” EmTech Asia 2017 also featured a session on a Brave New (Bio-Engineered) World, which featured Le Cong, Postdoctoral Fellow, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, who introduced advances on genome editing tools using CRISPR system, and highlighted how genomics analysis could be integrated to transform our ability to understand and treat complex diseases such as cancer. Other sessions include The Story and The Prototype, by Mike North, Host of Prototype This!, on the Discovery Channel. Mike shared his rapid prototyping philosophy of designing story and prototype, testing them as fast as possible, seeing where they work and fail, and then iterating to deliver well-branded relevant products. A light-hearted demo was presented by Adrian David Cheok, Director, Imagineering Institute & Chair Professor of Pervasive Computing, City University of London during his Everysense Everywhere Human Communication presentation, where he demonstrated the Kissenger, Thermal and Electric taste applications with the help of conference delegates. 10 innovators under the age of 35 took to the stage to present their elevator pitch at the conference, highlighting their work and research. EmTech Asia celebrated these 10 young innovators under the age of 35, recognised on the 2017 regional ‘Innovators under 35’ list by MIT Technology Review. Their inventions and research were found to be most ground breaking and exciting from more than 100 nominations from Southeast Asia, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. For one of the Innovators Under 35, Dhesi Raja, Chief Scientist and Cofounder of Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemiology (AIME), the event turned into an opportunity to raise capital, “Emtech Asia (and Singapore) is definitely the next hub after Silicon Valley that you want to be part of, where great minds meet. Besides the mind blowing convergence of technology, engineering, medicine & entrepreneurship, a vast network of investors has also enabled us to verbally secure a deal worth S$ 200,000, just after a 3 minute pitch. Yes! This is the next valley! Singapore valley!” Key sponsors and partners of EmTech Asia this year included Host Partner, Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA); Diamond Sponsor, Accenture; Disruptive Innovation Partner, SGInnovate; Innovation Partner, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART); Cybersecurity Partner, Analog Devices (ADI); Silver Sponsors L’Oréal Research & Innovation and SAP Innovation Center. Partners, MIT Professional Education, MIT Hacking Medicine, Solve and Workforce Singapore. Media Partners included Asia-Pacific Biotech News, Asian Scientist, Biotechin.Asia, Geeks in Cambodia, Research SEA, Startup Bangkok, The Tech Portal India and TechStorm TV. EmTech Asia will return in January 2018. Visit www.emtechasia.com to learn more. About EmTech Asia EmTech Asia is where technology, business, and culture converge. It is the showcase for emerging technologies with the greatest potential to change our lives. It is an access point to the most innovative people and companies in the world. Most of all, it is a place of inspiration — an opportunity to glimpse the future and begin to understand the technologies that matter and how they will change the face of business and drive the new global economy. www.emtechasia.com About MIT Technology Review: MIT Technology Review (www.technologyreview.com), which is wholly owned by MIT, creates award-winning technology-related editorial content on a variety of platforms for an audience of millions of business leaders, innovators, and thought leaders, in six languages and in 147 countries. At www.technologyreview.com readers access daily news and analysis, and the award-winning MIT Technology Review magazine has set the standard for technology publications since 1899. In addition to producing engaging live events, the company manages the global entrepreneurial organization MIT Enterprise Forum. About Koelnmesse: Koelnmesse Pte Ltd is one of the world's largest trade fair companies. Its more than 70 trade fairs and exhibitions have the broadest international scope in the industry, as 60 percent of the exhibitors and 40 percent of the visitors come from outside Germany. The Koelnmesse events include the leading global trade fairs for 25 sectors, such as Imm Cologne, Anuga, IDS, INTERMOT, Interzum Cologne, Photokina, Gamescom, and the International Hardware Fair Cologne. Koelnmesse is MIT Technology Review’s local partner for EmTech Asia. For more information, please click If you have a comment, please us. Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.


Braun M.H.,City University London | Cheok A.D.,Imagineering Institute
ACM International Conference Proceeding Series | Year: 2015

The sense of smell (olfaction) has been recognised as an important factor governing our emotions and memory. Nevertheless, it remains the most underexplored sense and is still a relatively new modality in the domain of marketing. While researchers have begun to explore the merits of olfaction as a powerful trigger of memories, its relation with emotions has been largely disregarded and its interplay with other modalities remains largely unknown. In this paper, we explore the use of scent for mobile user experiences and devices with a hardware tele-smell device "Scentee". We provide two examples of how Scentee has successfully been used in marketing campaigns.


News Article | December 22, 2016
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

Would you have sex with a robot? Would you marry one? Would a robot have the right to say no to such a union? These were just a few of the questions being asked at the second Love and Sex with Robots conference hastily rearranged at Goldsmiths University in London after the government in Malaysia - the original location - banned it. It has proved controversial, not only to countries with conservative views. There were no representatives from the sex industry in attendance and no sex robots on display, leading some to question the point of the event. RealDolls, a Californian-based firm that makes lifelike sex toys, claimed that it would release an artificial intelligence-enhanced sex doll next year. The launch, if it happens, will be vindication for Dr David Levy, who has long predicted the era of intelligent human-looking robots. He delivered the conference's closing speech, in which he made the case for android-human intimacy. "We have companion robots and a partner robot is the logical continuation of the trend," he said. "In the next 10 years it is perfectly achievable in software to create a robot companion that is everything that people might want in a spouse - patient, kind, loving, trusting, respectful and uncomplaining," he said. "{However] some enjoy the friction of a relationship and may want to marry an aggressive robot, some people would find that exciting." The idea of a programmable spouse raises ethical questions, particularly as Dr Levy acknowledges that the law would have to recognise a robot as a person. It might sound far-fetched but, over the course of 2016, a number of high-level panels were set up with representatives from the tech industry, academia and governments to grapple with just such questions. As to the rights of any future robot, Dr Levy has a simplistic view: "If a robot's behaviour suggests that it wishes to marry, we have to assume that it does." There is little evidence in the technology industry that current AI is being embodied in anything remotely human. Companion bots such as Pepper and Nao have human characteristics but look more like friendly toys rather than recognisable humans. Attempts to make lifelike companions, such as Prof Hiroshi Ishiguro's Geminoid - which is built in his image - are often labelled creepy. But there does seem to be a desire to humanise our bots and AIs, such as Amazon's Alexa, and smartphone assistants like Siri, tend to become anthropomorphised by their owners. But you only have to look to the world of robotic football to see that we are a long way off a robot that can move like a human. Elsewhere, the conference was a strange mix of academic papers and heated debate among the audience. There were a few studies presented in the splendidly titled field of teledildonics - haptic sex toys. This included Teletongue, an Arduino-based device developed by students at the school of media design at Keio University in Minato, Japan. The idea is to allow long-distance lovers to have physical intimacy. One partner kisses or caresses an edible lollipop shaped like a body part (the researchers are currently using an ear). The sound and vibration is then transmitted to their lover who would feel and hear the actions. Prof Lynne Hall, from the University of Sunderland, made the case for more sophisticated sex toys - perhaps linked to virtual reality - as an alternative to robots. "A robotic paint sprayer doesn't look like a painter, so do we need a sex robot to look like Jude Law?" she asked. She also suggested that sex could be enhanced by strapping on an exoskeleton packed with data-collecting sensors. "I'd be happy to give away my data if it made sex better for other people," she explained. Not everyone might be so willing. A few months back Standard Innovation, which makes intimate products, was sued over claims it had secretly collected data gathered by its smartphone-connected devices. It settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. The Imagineering Institute - which is heavily involved in the conference organisation - conducted a very small survey on attitudes to robot sex - asking only 30 members of its own labs whether they would be interested in intimate relations with a bot. The summarised answer appeared to be that, while many thought it was inevitable, few would want it for themselves. It led one member of the audience to sum up the conference: "We can't agree what a robot is, we can't agree what sex is. We are almost sure that no sex robots currently exist. What we are developing is very crude and almost no-one wants it." But Goldsmiths senior lecturer Kate Devlin said the event had presented a chance to consider how the industry might develop and the ethical issues it would raise. "If we have a conscious machine, how will we know it's conscious; how advanced will that consciousness be; what will be our responsibilities towards our creations?" she pondered. "Will they have rights? Should we build in the idea of consent?"


News Article | December 22, 2016
Site: phys.org

"Sexbots" are a staple of science fiction—the idea of robots as sex partners is explored, for instance, in recent films and television series like "Ex-Machina" and "Westworld." But some specialists believe the first animated lovers made of metal, rubber and plastic, programmed to provide sexual bliss, will take a step into reality just months from now. "Sex with robots is just around the corner, with the first sexbots coming... some time next year," artificial intelligence expert David Levy told the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots at Goldsmiths, University of London. US California-based company Abyss Creations next year will start marketing sex robots that are billed as life-like, with the ability to talk and move like humans. Ultimately, Levy said, people should entertain the thought of marriage with robots as early as 2050. The conference in London showcased some of the latest developments in robotic sex toys, such as gadgets which allow couples to kiss, no matter how far apart they are. The "Kissenger", which attaches to your mobile phone, contains sensors to detect the pressure of a kiss and transmit it to your partner's device in real time. It has been under development for several years. Now students at Tokyo's Keio University are developing the "Teletongue", aimed at providing "remote oral interaction" and designed to be "kinky", according to co-creator Dolhathai Kaewsermwong. It allows couples to send licking sounds and sensations through cyberspace using a "lollipop", creating an "immersive experience", she explained. Lynne Hall, of the University of Sunderland's school of computer science, in northeast England, said that robots could create "a fantastic sexual experience". "There are lots of benefits to sex with robots... it's safe, you never catch any disease, you can control it," she told the conference. She rejected the idea that robots would replace or threaten sex with humans, however. "We are somehow fed by moral panic... 'It's disgusting... nobody will ever have sex with a human again'," Hall told the conference. "But people are regularly watching porn... and they are still having sex with humans," she said. Levy, the author of "Love and Sex with Robots", from which the annual conference takes its title, said marriage to robots would be the next logical step. "As sex with robots becomes more and more commonplace... we shall come face to face with the very real possibility of marriage to robots," the former international chess master said. And why not? Robots of the future will be "patient, kind, protective, loving", never "jealous, boastful, arrogant, rude," Levy said—"unless of course you want them to be". "All of the following qualities and many more are likely to be achievable in software within a few decades," he added. Levy is convinced that rapid changes in attitudes to sex and marriage in recent years point to a world where "more and more people come to accept sex and love with robots". In his vision, robot parents could become a social norm, with laws to acknowledge "robot personhood" and make marriage and parenting by humanoids more than just a fantasy. "The time is fast approaching when the theoretical debate must evolve into laws, and the consequences of those laws will be staggering," he said. For now, however, sexual relations with humanoids are a step too far for many. Emma Yann Zhang, a PhD student at London's City University who worked on the Kissenger prototype, believes there is still a long way to go before people will accept the idea. In a pilot study conducted by the Imagineering Institute in Malaysia, partnered with City University, participants were asked about their perceptions of sex robots, including the potential for intimacy and attraction. Although many were open to the possibility that humans could be attracted to robots, "when asked 'would you have a robot as a lover?', most of them said 'no'," said Zhang. Hall agrees that the "paradigmatic change" suggested by Levy is "not going to happen for a very long time". In the meantime AI enthusiasts will be watching closely to see how quickly the new generation of sexbots fly off the shelves next year. Explore further: Scientists in the UK discuss sex robots and digital intimacy


Nijholt A.,Imagineering Institute | Nijholt A.,University of Twente
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2016

In this paper we look at possibilities to introduce humorous situations in smart environments. The assumption is that in future smart environments we have the possibility to configure and even real-time reconfigure environments in a way that humorous situations can be created or that conditions for humorous situations to emerge can be implemented. However, in order to do so we need to investigate how unplanned and unintended humor can emerge when users are confronted with unknown technology or surprising behavior of new (digital) technology. We can design jokes and humorous interactions and situations in movies, on stage, in literature, or in videogames. When we introduce unfamiliar technology or even imperfect technology we can expect that its use leads to humorous situations. Although intentionally and autonomously creating humorous situations by smart sensor and actuator technology is an ultimate goal, in this paper we look at situations and the ‘design’ of situations that possibly lead to humor because of users interacting with the environment. Users are not necessarily aware of how the environment expects them to behave, and they are probably not aware of shortcomings of the environment. Unintended humor from the point of view of a smart environment designer can also happen when a user starts to exploring shortcomings in order to generate humorous situations. In this paper we have some preliminary observations, mainly by looking at examples and design approaches, on designing environments where such accidental humor can emerge. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


Nijholt A.,University of Twente | Nijholt A.,Imagineering Institute | Poel M.,University of Twente
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) | Year: 2016

We investigate various forms of face-to-face and multiparty interactions in the context of potential brain-computer interface interactions (BCI). BCI has been employed in clinical applications but more recently also in domestic and game and entertainment applications. This paper focusses on multi-party game applications. That is, BCI game applications that allow multiple users and different BCI paradigms to get a cooperative or competitive task done. Our observations are quite preliminary and not yet supported by experimental research. Nevertheless we think we have put forward steps to structure future BCI game research and to make connections with neuro-scientific social interaction research. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


Velasco C.,University of Oxford | Velasco C.,Imagineering Institute | Woods A.T.,University of Oxford | Hyndman S.,Type Tasting | Spence C.,University of Oxford
i-Perception | Year: 2015

Previous research has demonstrated that typefaces can convey meaning over-and-above the actual semantic content of whatever happens to be written. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that people match basic taste words (sweet, sour, salty, and bitter) to typefaces varying in their roundness versus angularity. In Experiment 1, the participants matched rounder typefaces with the word ''sweet,'' while matching more angular typefaces with the taste words ''bitter,'' ''salty,'' and ''sour.'' Experiment 2 demonstrates that rounder typefaces are liked more and are judged easier to read than their more angular counterparts. We conclude that there is a strong relationship between roundness/angularity, ease of processing, and typeface liking, which in turn influences the correspondence between typeface and taste. These results are discussed in terms of the notion of affective crossmodal correspondences. © The Author(s) 2015.

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