"Making Human-Robot Interaction Enjoyable"

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LEGO Idea Conference 2018

Posted by on Apr 11, 2018 in Design, Event, LEGO | 0 comments

LEGO Idea Conference 2018

I was honoured to be invited to the LEGO Idea Conference 2018. It gave me the opportunity to meet with several members of the LEGO group but it also brought me up to speed with what the LEGO Foundation is working on. I talked to Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen and gave him my Unofficial LEGO Color Guide. I met with Jan Beyer and talked about the LAN and their connection to the AFOLs. I also discovered that the LEGO House’s library features my Unofficial LEGO Minifigure Catalog.

My Minifigure Catalog in the LEGO House library

My Minifigure Catalog in the LEGO House library

I also experienced the amazing architecture of the LEGO House. I took many (panoramic) photos of the outside and the inside. The large models, in particular the dinosaurs are amazing:

Dinosaurs

But maybe the most amazing aspect of the LEGO House are its interactive installations. Their RoboLab is just amazing:

And I also enjoyed their agent based city simulation:

What an amazing event.

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Robots, Rape, and Representation in Blade Runner (1982)

Posted by on Mar 3, 2018 in Research | 0 comments

Robert Sparrow wrote and excellent paper about Robots, Rape, and Representation. I was shocked to see exactly what he was talking about, namely non-consensual sex with androids in one of my favourite movies, Blade Runner. Rick Deckard is clearly forcing himself on the android Rachel and even asks her to tell him that she wants him. The scene stops after some more pretty forceful kissing and we don’t know what happens afterwards, but the way Rick controls Rachel and denies her leaving his apartment is highly problematic.

UPDATE: It took Youtube and Warner Brothers 30 seconds to file a copyright claim dispute about my video. Amazing.

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Simple LEGO Mindstorms Mars Rover

Posted by on Mar 3, 2018 in Design, Documentation, Featured, LEGO | 0 comments

Simple LEGO Mindstorms Mars Rover

This is simple Mars Rover model using two LEGO Mindstorms EV3 and a total of eight motors. The two EV3 are daisy chained and the model can be controlled using the EV3 IR Remote Control. The model uses the rocker-bogie suspension system including a differential in the middle axis. The two EV3s are suspended and remain horizontal in any position. There are much more complex Mars Rover models already available using many more Mindstorm bricks. My design goal was to keep it simple and experiment with the rocker-bogie suspension system. The principles works, but there is a bit too much flexibility in the model.

The 3D model and the building instructions are available for LEGO Digital Designer. The parts list and instructions are also available at Rebrickable.

 

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Nokia’s Body Cardio Scale Will Remove Pulse Wave Velocity

Posted by on Jan 22, 2018 in Technology | 1 comment

Nokia’s Body Cardio Scale Will Remove Pulse Wave Velocity

Since Nokia took over Withings the company continues to struggle with delivering good products. Today Nokia informed me that the Pulse Wave Velocity reading will be automatically deactivated and that there is nothing I can do to prevent this from happening. The reason they provide for the deactivation of this feature is that “it may require a different level of regulatory approval”.

While I agree that complying to the regulatory framework is a good idea, I wonder why they only considered this years after introducing the product. Why was this not part of their original design process? Regulatory frameworks vary considerably across the globe and Nokia decided to deactivate ALL scales. This does seem rather indiscriminate.

They offer a refund for the purchase price and they will then completely deactivate your scale. In their FAQ they do not mention the exact nature of the refund, but once you login into your account or followed their link you will find that:

I understand that I am eligible to be refunded for the purchase price of my product as shown on my receipt, less any fees that may have been incurred, including but not limited to: customs, duty, brokerage fees, shipping, or delivery costs. Nokia reserves the right to refund the local MSRP in lieu of this purchase price.

Again I have to wonder why there is no option for, lets say, half of a refund and you could continue to use the scale without the Pulse Wave Velocity reading. This all or nothing approach does not sit right with me since I do not want to throw away an otherwise fully operational scale but I also think that Nokia should reimburse us for the feature they are going to delete.

All of this is again an example of horrible product management and customer handling. The one feature that set this scale apart from their own Body+ scale is gone. I had an eye on their new Nokia Sleep tracker, but I do not want to go through this process of them screwing up their own products again.

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Fonthill Abbey

Posted by on Dec 13, 2017 in Design, Featured | 0 comments

Fonthill Abbey

We launched our Fonthill Abbey website on which we document our efforts to bring this amazing building and the story of its owner back to life. We created an interactive Virtual Reality Game that allows you to experience a forgotten piece of history as you become Lord Horatio Nelson or Lady Emma Hamilton, guests of mysterious Lord Beckford. You will have the rare privilege of entering secluded Fonthill Abbey and meet its extravagant owner, but will you make it out alive?

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Are you also a Truman?

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017 in Press | 0 comments

Don Rowe wrote an excellent article about Jürgen’s and my work and ask the question, are you also just a Truman? Valid and important point. Have a read of the full article.

Talking to a robot.

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Comparison of color measurement accuracy of ColorMunki Design and FRU WR-10QC Colorimeter

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Design, Featured, Research | 0 comments

Comparison of color measurement accuracy of ColorMunki Design and FRU WR-10QC Colorimeter

I am working on a colour project and had purchased the WR10 colorimeter to complement my long serving work horse, the X-Rite Color Munki Design. My ColorMunki is already several years old and I was concerned that its accuracy might have declined. When I measured several hundreds of samples, I noticed that both colorimeters gave me considerably different LAB values.

To determine which device was closer to the truth I measured the 48 defined colours of Datacolor’s SpyderCHECKR 48. I calculated the absolute error both devices made. The results of a paired-sample t-test showed that the ColorMunki is producing significantly less measurement errors on L (t(47)=-9.229, p<0.001), L (t(47)=-4.590, p<0.001) and L (t(47)=-4.871, p<0.001). However, both devices measure colours that are significantly different from the target colour of the SpyderCheckr card on all three measurements. Figure 1 shows the means and standard deviation for all measurement errors.

Figure 1: Mean and Standard Deviation of all measurements for both devices.

There does seem to be some structure in the errors that WR-10 is producing. Have a look at the heat map (Figure 2). The data for my little experiment is available at the Open Science Framework (DOI: 10.17605/OSF.IO/UWEFD).

Figure 2: Heat Map of the absolute errors

Although both devices show some significant deviation from the original, it is not far off from what can be expected of devices in this price range. The ColorMunki Design produces significantly better results than the FRU’s WR-10QC.

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