Beginning March 21th, students from INSA Lyon (France), University Politehnica of Bucharest (Romania), University of Milan (Italy) and University of Passau (Germany) were immersed for a week in the field of assistive robotics through the fourth seminar of the ‘Future IT Leader for a Multicultural Digital Europe – FIT Europe’ project. This project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, is intended to provide IT students with high level European training on emerging technologies (such as Big Data, Internet of Things, Blockchain and Assistive Robotics) along with its related socioeconomic implications (such as innovation, multiculturalism, ethics or privacy). The four academic institutions (INSA Lyon, Politehnica Bucharest, Università degli Studi di Milano, Universität Passau) and their corporate partners (La French Tech One, IT Center for Science and Technology CITST, Engineering SPA, ATOS) have gathered forces to improve the skills of master students as leaders in the IT field.
During the Bucharest seminar, the 28 participating students addressed the topic of “Integration of Assistive Robots, in a Multicultural and Multigenerational Society”. Students, researchers and industrial experts discussed about the challenges faced by the integration of robots in a human environment (navigation, interaction, person/object recognition and detections, integration), the different perspective on what the role of robots should be, how robots should behave, the different levels of acceptance towards robots and the different levels of understanding of how a robot works. In addition, discussions took place about what it can be expected from a robot, about the security, privacy and ethical issues, intelligent automation as well as about recycling and recovering of materials used in robotics and electronics in general. An examination of the role of assistive robots in a society where generations and cultures meet and mix has occurred.
All the students were physically present in the UPB campus during the seminar. The participation of the researchers and industrial experts was hybrid: some of them were physically present in the UPB campus, some of them participated digitally. The researchers and industrial experts from France, Germany, Italy and Romania conducted high-level presentations that enriched the knowledge of the participating students in the field of assistive robotics. In addition, the students enriched their skills by participating to the development of a navigation module for a custom ant robot, built by a researcher at UPB and by visiting the AIMAS laboratory at UPB where thy meet Pepper, Nao and Baxter robots and took a close look on the projects in which the laboratory is implicated.
FIT Europe is meant to facilitate interactions and collaboration between international students from different universities. At the beginning of the seminar, several controversial topics were proposed as challenges for the students. Students organized themselves in 5 teams and each team picked a controversial topic that worked on during the seminar. In the last day of the seminar, each team presented its work and conclusions. This opportunity allowed the students to work in international teams, to develop intercultural skills, and to develop their own points of view regarding current controversial subjects. The selected topics were:
During the seminar, students from each team worked on the controversial topic that they selected and on the last day, each team presented their project to the FIT Europe participants.
As final output of the seminar, all the materials including the registrations of the presentations have been made available on a media library.