Animal-Robot Interaction

I have spent the last year working with a team of animal psychologists to study the effects of multi-modal stimulation on infant chicks (0-5 days old). This has involved designing and building relatively compact robots to vibrate and play sounds when pecked by a chick. It is hoped that the results from this study will inform ongoing effors to automate chicken farming using robotic and electronic devices, as well as ever fascinating strides toward creating realistic, helpful, robotic pets.

Research Aims

- To investigate the effect of physical (vibrotactile) stimulation on infant chicks.

- To propose a machine learning approach to classifying chick calls.

- To inform future developments in the field of agri-robotics with ah emphasis on improving animal welfare.

Social Robots

Social robots are robots whose key purpose is to elicit some form of attachment in another agent, rather tham providing a more conventional service. Unlike many conventional social robotics projects, this exercise aims to develop social robots for animals. To this end, we take a multimodal approach to interaction design, with experiments ongoing to study the use of visual, auditory and tactile stimuli, as well as the automated classification and understanding of auditory calls from infant chicks.

Key Collaborators

- Dr Elisabetta Versace, Queen Mary University of London

- Ms Shuge Wang, Queen Mary University of London

- Ms Alice Leavey, University College London

- Ms Changhong Wang, Queen Mary University of London

Financial Support

- Alan Turing Institute Seed Grant

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