Social robots may soon be playing the part of teacher’s aide at the University at Albany’s Institute for Informatics, Logics and Security Studies. The facility has recently received a $326,752 grant from the National Science Foundation to incorporate social robotics as a mechanism to deliver a revitalized computer science education. The program brings together the university, Renssselaer Polytechnic Institute, Schenectady County Community College, Union College and the Schenectady Museum & Suit-Bueche Planetarium. Students will learn key computer science concepts, programming and the interplay between hardware and software using a robotics platform.
A social robot is one that interacts and communicates with those around it, following the social rules attached to its role. A robotic waiter, for example, would have to comply with established rules of good service. Social robotics education includes elements of design, psychology, cognitive science, communication and philosophy in addition to traditional computer science and engineering principles.