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Japan Robotics Mission - Outcomes

In October 2011 the UK sent a delegation to Japan with the following aims:

  • to learn about the current trends, research themes and commercial activities being undertaken in Japan in robotics
  • to promote UK robotics research and activities
  • to determine areas of common interest and seek mechanisms for building collaborations

The delegation visited a number of robotics (and related technology) research laboratories following which a one day workshop was held at Kobe University.   Participants agreed that key application areas for robotics in the near future include space exploration, disaster response / search and rescue, rehabilitation, domestic chores, care of the elderly and play / learning.  In order to penetrate into these application areas a number of system issues were identified:

  • the design of systems (specific tasks vs multi-functionality)
  • system supervision (human-in-the-loop)
  • safety, social acceptance, trust and certification issues
  • relationships with humans
  • out-of laboratory demonstrations and experiments (uncertain environments)
  • identification of challenge problems to progress the state-of-the-art (e.g. origami folding)

To address these issues and build collaborations between the UK and Japan the following ideas were proposed:

  • A strategic partnership between the UK Academic Forum for Robotics and the Robot Society of Japan
  • The establishment and promotion of an online platform for collaboration in robotics
  • Identification of upcoming funding calls and the formation of partnerships to address them

A final report and presentations from the UK team are available (to registered users) in the Documents section of the CHARM group.

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