YJA meets MARC

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If somebody had told me that last week I would be at the University of Lincoln playing rock, paper, scissors with a robot I would probably have just laughed at them but that is what happened.

Like all good Journalists, using your contacts is essential to getting a good story. Until recently my Mum worked at the University of Lincoln and when I saw an advert asking for volunteers to interact with MARC (Multi-Actuated Robotic Companion) I asked her if she still had any contacts at the Uni that could help me be a part of this fascinating study.


Méabh & Matt from the YJA grabbing a quick snap with our new friend MARC

Conducted by robotics experts from the University of Lincoln, UK, the study found that a person is much more likely to warm to an interactive robot if it shows human-like ‘cognitive biases’ – deviations in judgement which form our individual characteristics and personalities, complete with errors and imperfections.

The investigation was conducted by PhD researcher Mriganka Biswas and overseen by Dr John Murray from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science. After a few email conversations with Mriganka I managed to get him to agree to a chat about his studies and let me meet MARC.

The design of MARC is supplied by the open source project InMoov. I asked Mriganka why he decided to introduce flaws in to the robot’s ‘character’ for this study?

“Our research explores how we can make a robot’s interactive behaviour more familiar to humans, by introducing imperfections such as judgemental mistakes, wrong assumptions, expressing tiredness or boredom for a repetitive task like factory work or car production. By developing these cognitive biases in the robots and making them behave as imperfectly as humans we have shown that flaws in their ‘characters’ help humans to understand, relate to and interact with the robots more easily.”

To watch my interview with Mriganka Biswas and see me play Paper, Scissors, Stone with MARC click below.

Méabh, Yr 7

North Kesteven YJA Newsroom




One Response to YJA meets MARC

  1. Libby February 20, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Wow this is an interesting adventure you have been on hope you enjoyed it. Great article Mèabh.