The OPAL project is a collaboration between engineering, computer science, psychology, interaction design and robotics with the aim of building a social robot for interacting with children. Early prototypes have been given the name "Opie" and have been shown to evoke interesting behaviours from children.

     
Different Opie prototypes.

The project has many research goals:

  • How can we design and engineer social robots?
  • What are the effects of social (and non-social) robots on interactions with humans?
  • What are the features of a "good" social interaction?
  • What are the effects of social robots on the transfer of learning?
  • How can robots use and share language with children?
  • How to develop a social robot for indigenous communities ?

The OPAL project is insipred from the RUBI project at UCSD (link) and like that project, the OPAL project is also named after a (Australian) gem.

The OPAL project is funded by the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) (link), which is an ARC research centre that aims to investigate all aspects of language.

 

Publications:  

Heath, S., Durantin, G., Boden, M., Hensby, K., Taufatofua, J., Olsson, O., ... & Wiles, J. (2017). Spatiotemporal Aspects of Engagement during Dialogic Storytelling Child–Robot Interaction. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 4, 27.

Worthy, P., Boden, M., Karimi, A., Weigel, J., Matthews, B., Hensby, K., ... & Viller, S. (2015). Children's Expectations and Strategies in Interacting with a Wizard of Oz Robot. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Australian Special Interest Group for Computer Human Interaction (pp. 608-612). ACM.

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Wiles, J. et al (2016). Social Cardboard: Pretotyping a social ethnodroid in the wild. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Robot Interaction. ACM/IEEE

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Hensby, K. et al (2016). Hand in hand: Tools and techniques for understanding children's touch with a social robot. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Robot Interaction. ACM/IEEE

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Rogers, K. et al (2016). Discovering Patterns of Touch: A Case Study for Visualization-Driven Analysis in Human-Robot Interaction In Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Robot Interaction. ACM/IEEE

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Heath, S. et al (2016). Lingodroids: Investigating grounded color relations using a social robot for children. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Robot Interaction. ACM/IEEE

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