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Welcome to the BCS South West Branch website

Welcome to the website for the South West branch of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. This is one of the largest geographical branches covering all of Devon and Cornwall, specifically the postal codes EX, PL, TQ, TR. The Branch has about 1000 members.

Our monthly meetings are generally held between October and May. Events are usually held in either Plymouth or Exeter, there is no charge (unless indicated) and everyone is welcome.

Forthcoming Events

2017 Karen Spärck Jones Lecture: Creating Robots That Care (Live Stream Webinar)

Date: 25/05/2017, 18.00
Venue:

University of Plymouth, Rolle 018 Lecture Theatre

The talk will be live streamed from London.


Notes:

About the Lecture: To honour the pioneering work of Karen Spärck Jones, the BCS holds a distinguished lecture in her name each year, celebrating a prominent female computing researcher. Dr Matarić is the Professor and Chan Soon-Shiong Chair of Computer science, Neuroscience & Pediatrics; Founding Director at the USC's Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center; and Director of the USC's Robotics Research Lab.

Abstract: How can human-robot interaction be improved by making robots more socially intelligent? This is the key question at the heart of socially assistive robotics (SAR): a new field of intelligent robotics that focuses on developing machines capable of assisting users through social rather than physical interaction, in order to encourage people to have the drive and motivation to do their own work, for improved health and wellness. Our research brings together engineering, health sciences, neuroscience, social, developmental, and cognitive sciences to create robots that can serve as coaches, motivators, and companions. This requires personalising human-robot interaction through appropriate speech, gesture, and body language; the embodiment is the most important even without physical work. Our successes include coaching stroke patients to perform rehabilitation activities, helping children with autism to learn social skills, encouraging teens at risk for type-2 diabetes to exercise, motivating first graders to make healthy food choices, and helping elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease to stay engaged. This talk will describe those projects and the associated research into embodiment, modelling and steering of social dynamics, and long-term user adaptation for SAR, illustrated with many videos.

About the Lecturer: Dr. Maja Matarić is inspired by the vast potential for affordable human-centered technologies, especially socially assistive robotics, as means of improving human quality of life. Founder and director of the Interaction Lab at the University of Southern California, her research is aimed at endowing robots with the ability to help people, especially those with special needs. She is passionate about conveying the importance and promise of interdisciplinary engineering research and careers in STEM to all who should know more, including K-12 students and teachers, women and other underrepresented groups in engineering, the media, and policy makers.

The event will kick off at 17.30 with tea/coffee and scones to provide a networking opportunity before the main lecture starts at 18.00.

Register:

Presentations from previous events can be found here.