Invited Talk At The HumanTech Meetings

I will be giving an invited talk at the HumanTech Meetings on December 2nd. This event will be in English with Polish live translations. You can join the meeting for free. The title of my talk will be “Same same but different”. Here is the abstract:

The idea of robots have inspired humans for generations. The Bank of Asia, for example, had commissioned a building that looks like robot to host its headquarters in Bangkok. This profound interest in creating artificial entities is a blessing and a curse for the study of human-robot interaction. On the one hand it almost guarantees a headline in newspapers, but on the other hand it biases all participants in the study. Still, almost all robots that made it out of the research labs and into the market failed. This talk with try to shine some light on why robots are so (un)popular.

The HumanTech event is focusing on “ARE ROBOTS HUMAN TOO? ABOUT HUMAN-INTELLIGENT MACHINE INTERACTION”.

Not so long ago, robots were the subject of sci-fi movies or production lines in some industries. Nowadays, the use of robots in hospitals, hotels or coffee shops has been gradually increasing. All over the world, cases of robot-related anxiety have been noted. Specialists even talk about robophobia – a strong fear of robots.

During the upcoming event in the HumanTech Meetings series, organized by SWPS University’s HumanTech Center for Social and Technological Innovation, two world-renowned scientists, Professor Christoph Bartneck, University of Canterbury, New Zeland, and Professor Agnieszka Wykowska, the Italian Institute of Technology, in Genoa, Italy, will tell us about their own experience of building difficult relations with robots. The meeting will be hosted by Dr. Konrad Maj.

University of Canterbury Inaugural Conference on Artificial Intelligence

The UC AI Inaugural Conference will take place on 9-10 December 2020.

UC AI is a newly-formed transdisciplinary cluster for artificial intelligence research. UC AI encompasses researchers from UC’s departments and schools of Computer Science and Software Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Psychology, Education, the Humanities and Social Sciences, and the New Zealand Human Interface Technology Laboratory.

UC AI’s Inaugural Conference also provides an opportunity to celebrate Ada Lovelace’s birthday on 10 December. Nearly 200 years ago, Lovelace and Charles Babbage wrote the first programs for a universal digital computer.

The conference is free, but if you are planning to come, please register as soon as possible via the website.

If you would like accommodation in a UC Hall of Residence ($60 per night inclusive of GST for a single room), please make your reservation.

Softbank Robotics Robot Settings Software Cannot Connect To Server

I am working my way through updating our Nao robots and I was able to install the latest version of Choregraphe (2.8.6.23) on a Mac OS X computer that still runs an an older version of the OS (10.13.6 High Sierra). The problem is that the newest version of Choregraphe expects to communicate with the newest version of NAOqi, the operating system of the Nao robots. Problem is again that the Aldebaran online community has been closed and hence you cannot directly download the latest version fo NAOqi.

Softbank Robotics is now offering the Robot Settings app that should allow you to update your Nao robot. The installer even works on Mac OS X 10.15 Catalina. I connected my Nao via a ethernet cable directly to my Mac and was able to connect to it using Robot Settings.

I was able to connect the robot to the internet using Wifi. The problem comes with the next step called “Synchronisation”.

Robot Settings is unable to connect to the “server”. I assume that this would be a server over at Aldebaran or Softbank Robotics. In any case, it is impossible to get beyond this step.

I used the Robot Settings up with our latest Nao V6 and this time it worked. But it does not allow you to update NAOqi, just other apps that you might have downloaded from their App Store. Our Nao V6 does not have the latest version of NAOqi and hence again I am stuck.

You could use Choregraphe to update NAOqi (see screenshot) but this would require that you had already downloaded NAOqi, which is currently impossible.

The last method would be to use the Flasher application and a USB stick to update the robot. But again, you would already need to have the NAOqi image available.

Softbank Robotics, please get your support up and running again. You make it very difficult for us to operate the products you sold us.

Softbank Robotics Choregraphe Software Incompatible With Mac OS X 10.15 Catalina

Update: Softbank Robotics support confirmed that this is a problem and their recommendation is just a workaround. They told me to use a virtual machine with Ubuntu. Sigh. (18 November 2020)

It was time again to get my hands onto our Nao robots and since I just had received a new Mac laptop I took the opportunity to download the latest version of Softbank Robotics/Aldebaran’s Choregraphe software (version 2.8.6.23).  It turns out that the newest version is incompatible with the latest version of Mac OS X (10.15.7 Catalina). It cannot be installed.

Here is what happens. You can download only the newest version of the various software packages from the new Softbank Robotics website. If you need an older version then you are out of luck since the links to old Aldebaran website are simply broken. You only get the information that the community website has been discontinued.

But okay, lets try the latest greatest. Mac OS X has a security feature called Gatekeeper to only allow the execution of that prevents the execution of any program by unidentified developers. You will get an errors message:

““choregraphe-suite-2.8.6.23-mac64-setup” cannot be opened because the developer cannot be verified.”You need to click on “Cancel”. Normally you would now go to your security settings and allow this app to open anyway at the bottom of the windows:

This will then fire up the installer app again. And you get another warning message:

“macOS cannot verify the developer of “choregraphe-suite-2.8.6.23-mac64-setup”. Are you sure you want to open it?”

You can now click on “Open”, which should start the installer app. Instead the installer quits and never progresses. You could then try to bring back the option in Mac OS X to allow apps from any developer by using a little bit of Terminal magic:

sudo spctl --master-disable

After a reboot you can try your luck again opening the installer and you get this error message:

““choregraphe-suite-2.8.6.23-mac64-setup” is an app downloaded from the internet. Are you sure you want to open it?”

After clicking “Open” the installer quits again and you are unable to install Choregraphe. Notice that the error messages points again at the discontinued Aldebaran community.

Dear Softbank Robotics, it seems like your software needs some updates and your support website seems also in desperate need for some updates. Please, we paid thousands of dollars for your robots, don’t let them die like this.

Does anybody have a solution for this problem? Does anybody have an older version of Choregraphe available? Maybe we need to setup our own download archive to be able to maintain our robot buddies.

New LEGO Color Guide Published

I am proud to announce that the fourth edition of the Unofficial LEGO Color Guide is now available. The printed book is available as a paperback and hardcover from Amazon and other resellers. An eBook (PDF) is available from Lulu. The paper printing process has a limited color space and hence I recommend the PDF if you need to have best possible representation. Head over to Minifigure.org for more details on the book.