Living with robots — University of Ottawa researcher at the forefront of a revolution

It was not so long ago that the notion of robots living and working among us was just an idea rooted in science fiction. However, uOttawa professor Emil Petriu is rapidly turning this idea into scientific fact through his development of technology that mimics the human hand’s tactile process.

Among many bits and pieces of automated wheelchairs, vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers in his lab, as well as a notably bright orange robot named Pumpkin, Professor Petriu keeps a classic model of a human skull. A reminder of what it is to be human? Maybe. But it’s definitely the perfect model for developing tactile sensors and perception mechanisms for robots, giving robots a skin with detailed faces and expressions, as well as a sense of touch.

“We are using biology as our source of inspiration. Human beings are most comfortable interacting with devices that move and respond the same way we do,” says Professor Petriu.

For more information on Professor Petriu’s research work with robots, read the article in Research Perspectives Magazine titled Robots and the rest of us.

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