Meet Boris Mocialov, a PhD student at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics which is led by Heriot-Watt University. Boris has a background in computer science and software engineering and developed his studies in robotics through an interest in artificial intelligence. He works on grounding the semantics of sign languages in a task. Most recently, he has been working on the recognition of sign languages.
What area of robotics do you focus on, and why does it appeal to you?
My focus area is multimodal human-machine interaction. This is important, because it promotes naturalistic and intuitive interactions between humans and machines.
How do you expect emotionally engaging and life-like robots to impact the life quality of humans in future?
Research in robotics envisions empathic robots living and working alongside humans in the future. These emotionally stimulating and engaging robots will be particularly useful to those who have difficulties interacting with other humans.
What tools were you using to support your research before you used MiRo?
I use systems for vision processing, since I am interested in visual input. My robot platform used to be the NAO humanoid robot.
What is it that makes MiRo so different and appealing?
It's shiny and cute - every time you turn it on it feels like you're about to open a Christmas present.
What are you expecting to do with MiRo and how will this differ from your past approach?
My department has plans to use the platform for our academic research but it is also well-suited for use in our student projects.
How would you describe the technical support?
The support is exceptional and feels very individualistic rather than general.
What was your favourite robotics discovery and why?
Robots are very simple inside, it turns out: only the packaging makes them look intimidating and intelligent.
What advice would you give researchers looking to develop biomimetic software?
Focus on simple behaviours, but consider how those fit into complex biological processes.
Tell us why you love MiRo in a sentence:
I love MiRo for how mysterious it appears. When it looks at you, it feels like it is actually thinking. It motivates me to research human-robot interaction when I look into its eyes.