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RoboShow Highlights Artificial Intelligence Research at UAlbany
Tuesday, May 10, 3-5 p.m. event features robots dancing and discussing the weather

Contact: Catherine Herman (518) 437-4980

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 6, 2005) -- The University at Albany's Institute for Informatics, Logics and Security Studies (ILS) will present an exhibit of advanced, student-programmed robots that obey verbal commands, talk to participants, and play tic-tac-toe. RoboShow, a series of research presentations and seminars on advanced robotics, features demonstrations of Sony AIBO robotic dogs programmed by UAlbany students with artificial intelligence code, performing such autonomous tasks as kicking a soccer goal, synchronized dancing, and climbing over obstacles.

The demonstration grew from Computer Science Professor Tomek Strzalkowski's Robotics Seminar. "Continuing the tradition we started last year, we're proud to announce RoboShow 2005," he said. "This year, we have five projects to demo, two more than last year. The students actually asked to work on projects harder than I thought anyone could complete in the limited amount of time they had. The long hours and hard work paid off -- they should be very proud of the behaviors they created."

During the show, ILS research aide and show organizer Robert Salkin will invite guests to challenge the AIBO to a game of tic-tac-toe. The AIBO will register information about its opponent's position and respond accordingly. According to Salkin, the robot intends to win. "I doubt anyone can beat our AIBO -- even forcing a tie is hard to do!”

Another AIBO will "talk" and respond to spoken questions, such as "How's the weather?" The AIBO, through a neural network vision system, will try to identify letters held in front of it, and will also perform simple tasks assigned by the speaker. The goal of the exercise is to demonstrate how robots might detect human speech and synchronize their own "speech" in conjunction with appropriate motion.

Other demonstrations include AIBOs playing ball, avoiding obstacles, and performing dance routines.

In addition to the robotic demonstrations, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Professor John T. Wen, of the electrical, computer, and engineering systems department, will lecture on "Distributed Control: from Robots to Networks."

"It's a cute little robotic dog manufactured by Sony as a toy -- it just so happens that it ended up being a much better research tool than a toy," said Salkin. "The students aren't playing with the AIBOs - they worked hard to get them to do all of those amazing things and the research has applications in both industry and defense."

RoboShow will be held Tuesday, May 10, in Social Sciences Building room 262 (ILS conference room) on the uptown campus, and is free and open to the public. RPI's John Wen will lecture 3-4 p.m. and robot demonstrations will be held 4-5 p.m.

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