Professor Joe Francis’ Mind Is Teeming With Ways To Team With Robots

Professor Joe Francis’ Mind Is Teeming With Ways To Team With Robots

To the unfamiliar, it might seem a Jedi mind trick – the notion of controlling robots by simply thinking of what you wish for them to do. If so, then Joe Francis, associate professor of biomedical engineering, is Obi-Wan Kenobi. The force, along with a new grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for $308,077, is with him as he works to expand humans’ ability to work with robots.

To Francis, his project, “NRI: Collaborative Research: Multimodal Brain Computer Interface for Human-Robot Interaction,” is all about teamwork. “We’re teaming the human with the robotic systems,” he said. “The robots can do certain things really well, but they’re going to need some guidance, and rather than have the person guide them continuously with trying to inform them about everything, there’s this interplay between the two systems.”

The goal is to determine how well artificial agents and humans can work together instead of getting in each other’s way.

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