"Making Human-Robot Interaction Enjoyable"

Sounds easy, I wish it was!

Radio NZ Interview on LEGO violence

Posted by on May 21, 2016 in Press, Research | 0 comments

Wallace Chapman interviewed me about our study “Have LEGO products become more violent?” on Radio New Zealand. Wallace certainly did his research since he also discovered my LEGO Unikitty. You can listen to the broadcast right here:

In the meantime, Huw Millington over at Brickset reported on his website about the study, which sparked a vivid discussion. One of the main discussion points seem again the question whether the increased violence in toys also make children more violent. We explicitly excluded this question from out study, but it seems that this is one of the main question that is on everybody’s mind. I also noticed that many blame the increase of violence in LEGO to licensed themes, such as Star Wars.

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Have LEGO Products Become More Violent?

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in Featured, Research | 1 comment

Have LEGO Products Become More Violent?

We just published our article “Have LEGO Products Become More Violent?” at PLOS One. Here is the abstract:

Although television, computer games and the Internet play an important role in the lives of children they still also play with physical toys, such as dolls, cars and LEGO bricks. The LEGO company has become the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Our study investigates if the LEGO company’s products have become more violent over time. First, we analyzed the frequency of weapon bricks in LEGO sets. Their use has significantly increased. Second, we empirically investigated the perceived violence in the LEGO product catalogs from the years 1978-2014. Our results show that the violence of the depicted products has increased significantly over time. The LEGO Company’s products are not as innocent as they used to be.

 

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LEGO Unikitty MOC in lifesize

Posted by on Apr 21, 2016 in Featured | 0 comments

LEGO Unikitty MOC in lifesize

This is my latest MOC: A LEGO Unikitty! It is 180cm tall and features a rotating head and sparkly eyes. It took several month from planning to finish and never used as many pink bricks in my life. Still, the color combination is just cute. The neck uses my LEGO compatible thrust ball bearing. Have a look at the video to see how it works:

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HRI2016 Conference in Christchurch

Posted by on Mar 13, 2016 in Press, Research | 0 comments

Last week the HRI2016 conference took place right here in Christchurch. The program was a full success and I hope that everybody enjoyed New Zealand. We also had a bit of media coverage:

 

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Governor General visits the HIT Lab NZ

Posted by on Mar 13, 2016 in Event, Featured, Press, Research | 0 comments

Governor General visits the HIT Lab NZ

The Govenor General, Jerry Mateparae, visited the HIT Lab NZ on March 9th, 2016. We presented our main research areas to him, including Human-Robot Interaction. Jerry Mateparae seemed to enjoy the performance of our robots, but his Aides-de-Camp looked, well, I am not sure how to read his face.

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LEGO compatible thrust ball bearing

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Featured, LEGO, Technology | 0 comments

LEGO compatible thrust ball bearing

To rotate an axial load LEGO developed the turn table. For light loads this works great but the friction increases dramatically with heavy loads. This thrust ball bearing uses standard LEGO balls to transform the friction into rotations. This allows the two disks to easily rotate. The balls and an additional rim keep the two disks in place.

A motor can be attached on the inside to power the rotation. Even the smallest LEGO motor is sufficient to easily rotate this 2 kg load. This thrust ball bearing is fully LEGO compatible and even allows studs to be attached to top half. Standard 14.2 mm LEGO balls can be used. The bearing measures 20 studs across and is three bricks high. This should be big enough for even the biggest crane or MOC display.

The 3D data is available from the Autodesk Gallery.

 

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Portuguese translation of the Godspeed Questionnaire Series available

Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in Research | 0 comments

Carina Dantas provided the Portuguese translation for the Godspeed Questionnaire Series. Please do continue to send me translation and I will put them online.

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