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Preview: Talking Robots - The Podcast on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Talking Robots - The Podcast on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Talking Robots is a podcast featuring interviews with high-profile professionals in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence for an inside view on the science, technology, and business of intelligent robotics. It is managed and sponsored by the Laboratory of

Last Build Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2007 07:00:00 GMT

Copyright: © 2006-2007 Sabine Hauert, Markus Waibel, Peter Duerr & Dario Floreano

Talking Robots: Outro

Fri, 6 Jun 2008 07:00:00 GMT

Thanks for tuning in to Talking Robots! This podcast is now finished so take some time to listen to the shows you might have missed and don't forget to subscribe to "Robots", the new podcast for news and views on robotics at

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Talking Robots: Final Episode

Fri, 23 May 2008 07:00:00 GMT

With 45 interviews with high profile people in robotics, nearly 200'000 downloads and a good insight on today's and tomorrow's robotics, here we are now with the final episode of Talking Robots dedicated to what people really think about robots. In addition we'll be speaking with Dario Floreano, the initiator and director of the Talking Robots podcast and the director of the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems, at the EPFL in Switzerland. He'll be concluding this series with a retrospective on these two past years and a note on the future. Future which will include Robots, your podcast for news, interviews and discussions on all aspects of robotics (

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Talking Robots: Henry Markram - Blue Brain Robotics

Fri, 9 May 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode of Talking Robots we speak with Henry Markram who is the director of the Blue Brain Project, director of the Center for Neuroscience and Technology and co-director of EPFL's Brain Mind Institute in Switzerland. While most roboticists have been working on abstracting the brain, the Blue Brain project has been painting the whole picture of a rat neocortical column (NCC) from the bottom up; starting with the cells, neurons, and finally pulling the connections which generate the jungle of the mind. It seems that modeling our grey matter as a whole might result in emergent features such as consciousness or self representation and provide necessary tools for the study of brain disorders such as Alzheimer's or Autism. Finally, robots embedded with such in-silico replication of the brain might not only be more efficient in communicating, showing emotions and planning, they will also serve as essential testbeds to better understand what's happening in our head.

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Talking Robots: Yoky Matsuoka - Neurobotic Prosthetics

Fri, 25 Apr 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode of Talking Robots we speak with Yoky Matsuoka who is the director of the Neurobotics Laboratory at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA. Boosted by her nomination as MacArthur Fellow she has been recognized as a leader in the emerging field of neurobotics. With her team, she's been focused on understanding how the central nervous system coordinates musculoskeletal action and how robotic technology can enhance the mobility of people with manipulation disabilities.

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Talking Robots: Cynthia Breazeal - Personal Robots

Fri, 11 Apr 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode of Talking Robots we talk to Cynthia Breazeal who is an Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA, where she founded and directs the Personal Robots Group at the Media Lab. With her creaturoids, animoids, humanoids and robotized objects, Breazeal has been working to make robots and humans team up in a human-centric way, work together as peers, and learn from one another. Breazeal's work includes personal robots such as the very expressive Kismet, the Huggable™ robot teddy, Leonardo the social creature and the MDS (Mobile/ Dextourous/Social ) humanoid robot.

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Talking Robots: Kerstin Dautenhahn - Therapy Robots for Autism

Fri, 28 Mar 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Kerstin Dautenhahn who is Research Professor in the School of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at University of Hertfordshire in the UK, where she is a coordinator of the Adaptive Systems Research Group. Autism is a developmental disorder affecting around 91 people in every 10,000, mainly causing difficulties in social interactions, communication and imagination. Using therapy robots in the AuRoRA project, Dautenhahn has been pushing autistic children to learn essential social skills such as turn taking, joint attention and imitation. Armed with a lot of patience and zeal, her team has been adapting their robots and therapy sessions to each individual child, whether it's about playing with wheeled robots or Dautenhahn's toddler-sized Kaspar humanoid. She also presents her new project on Interactive RObotic social MEdiators as Companions (IROMEC) which looks at how autistic children can learn to cooperate and interact with each other through the introduction of a robotic mediator.

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Talking Robots: Frédéric Kaplan - Curious Interactive Robots

Fri, 14 Mar 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Frederic Kaplan. After ten years of research at the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris, he is now researcher at the CRAFT at the EPFL in Lausanne Switzerland where he supervises a new team focusing on interactive furniture and robotic objects. From curious AIBO robots to interactive robot computers and furniture, he has been exploring technologies permitting to endow objects with a personal history so that they become different as we interact with them and to learn from one another, thus creating an ecosystem in perpetual evolution.

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Talking Robots: Brad Nelson - BioMicroRobotics

Fri, 29 Feb 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Brad Nelson who is the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zürich. At the root of BioMicroRobotics, Nelson has designed microrobots for retinal surgery applications. Pushing the principle of "embodiment" to the extreme, he's by embedding the intelligence of his robot within their physical body. In the end, their shape, material and physical properties allow them to interact with the environment and subsequently harvest energy, perform sensing, and navigate through the human body. Using similar principles, Nelson's lab won the 2007 RoboCup Nanogram Competition, the first year the event was held. The goal was to use autonomous microrobots smaller than 300μm to perform a series of soccer related tasks.

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Talking Robots: Inman Harvey - Philosophy & Robotics

Fri, 15 Feb 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Inman Harvey who is researcher at the Center for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics at the University of Sussex and faculty of the Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems Group at the same university. With his background in Philosophy and Robotics, he has been tackling fundamental questions on how not to design Good Old Fashion Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (GOFAIR), addressing issues such as the need for representation or embodiment. He emphasizes the influence of the philosophical position of roboticists when designing autonomous robots and discusses the lack of meaning or motivation to survive in today's robots. Finally, he presents artificial evolution as an approach to the design of complex systems following his own “philosophy of the mind”.

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Talking Robots: Robin Murphy - Search and Rescue Robots

Fri, 1 Feb 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this podcast we interview Robin Murphy who is a founder and international leader in both rescue robotics and human-robot interaction, and was recognized by TIME Magazine in 2004 as an innovator in artificial intelligence. As the Director of the Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) at the University of South Florida she was the first to introduce ground, air, and sea robots to disaster response, participating in the World Trade Center disaster (2001), La Conchita, CA, mudslides (2005), Hurricanes Charley (2004), Dennis (2005), Katrina (2005), and Wilma (2005), and the Newmont Midas (2007) and Crandall Canyon (2007) mine disasters.

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Talking Robots: Roland Siegwart - Autonomous Robots

Fri, 18 Jan 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this interview we talk to Roland Siegwart who is Full Professor at the Autonomous Systems Lab at the ETH Zurich. Based on his experience with the 18 robots he's created, he shares his know-how on autonomous robotics and the research which is being done on robot navigation/localization and mapping.

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Talking Robots: Gianmarco Veruggio - Roboethics

Fri, 4 Jan 2008 07:00:00 GMT

In this interview we talk to Gianmarco Veruggio who founded the association Scuola di Robotica in Genova (Italy) to study the complex relationship between Robotics and Society. This led him to coin the term and propose the concept of Roboethics, or the field of Ethics applied to robotics. He discusses topics such as the use of robots in our everyday environments, the lethality and benefits of medical robots or military robots, augmented humans and robots as human-like artifacts. Should we start thinking like Asimov, deriving laws and limits to apply for the peaceful cohabitation of humans and robots?

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Talking Robots: José Halloy - Social Cockroach Robots

Fri, 21 Dec 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to José Halloy who is researcher at the Unit of Social Ecology at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He presents the work done in the scope of the LEURRE project on the self-organization of hybrid groups of animals and artificial artifacts. Recently presented in one of the most renowned journals "Science", Halloy describes how insect-like robots can influence a group of cockroaches into collectively selecting a light shelter instead of the dark one they usually crave. A splash of perfume and a good behavioral model is what it takes to interact with what Maeterlinck called the "mind of the hive" or in this case, the collective intelligence of the cockroach society.

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Talking Robots: Tandy Trower - Microsoft and Robotics

Fri, 07 Dec 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In today's episode we talk to Tandy Trower, a 26-year Microsoft veteran who is now the General Manager of the Microsoft Robotics Group. In this year's January edition of Scientific American, Bill Gates predicted a "Robot in Every Home" after having told Tandy Trower "to go on an extended fact-finding mission and to speak with people across the robotics community". As a result, Microsoft launched their "Robotics Studio" in 2006 without losing a split second. Tandy Trower tells what it's all about, why Microsoft is interested in robotics, if we'll ever see anything close to open source and if we are we really going towards a robot in every home.

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Talking Robots: Gerald Edelman - Neural Darwinism and Brain-based Devices

Fri, 23 Nov 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this interview we talk to Nobel laureate Gerald Edelman who is director of The Neurosciences Institute in California and professor at The Scripps Research Institute. He presents his theory of Neural Darwinism and the brain-based devices that are working away to prove its consistency through demonstrations of learning and episodic memory. What’s the next big step? The implementation of conscious artifacts, thanks to the study of the underlying biological process.

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Talking Robots: Henrik Lund - Playware and Edutainment

Fri, 9 Nov 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Henrik Lund who is the director of the AdapTronics Group at the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark. He just recently launched the Center for Playware in the same institute which has recently received wide media attention (Wired, NewScientistTech, CNN) for motivating kids and adults to play on his interactive playgrounds and therapy tiles. Henrik also explains how he is inspiring Tanzanian children to become inventors and engineers with the AfroBot project.

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Talking Robots: Ron Fearing - Millirobots

Fri, 26 Oct 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Ron Fearing who is the director of the Biomimetic Millisystem Laboratory at UC Berkeley in California. He presents the state of the art in aerial insect-size flapping robots with the Micromechanical Flying Insect (MFI) project and the challenges in designing millisystems, from autonomy and control in turbulent environments to hardware. Thanks to his know-how with the “tiny” he's also been designing tools and kits for the rapid-prototyping of miniature robots of all types which might one-day be used in high-school science classes, or is it art?

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Talking Robots: Michael Arbib - Robot Brains and Emotions

Fri, 12 Oct 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Michael Arbib who is the Fletcher Jones professor of computer science, as well as a professor of biological sciences, biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, neuroscience and psychology at the University of Southern California where he is also the director of the USC Brain Project. He's been inspiring roboticists around the world with his research in neuroscience especially on mirror systems. He gives us insight as to why we cry at the movies and how imitation and language acquisition might have came about in humans or monkeys. From the neurons to the machines and from "faked" emotions to real ones, he gives us his view on robots today and tomorrow.

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Talking Robots: Rudolf Bannasch - Bionic Design

Fri, 28 Sep 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Rudolf Bannasch from the Technical University in Berlin, Germany. Thanks to his background in biology, his many trips to the poles and his know-how in engineering, he's been able to pinpoint the principles found in nature which can provide the basis for novel solutions to everyday technical problems. With his bio-inspiration as a drive, he's creating new products through his startup Evologics and encouraging bionic design through European networks.

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Talking Robots: Sebastian Thrun - Probabilistic Robotics and the DARPA challenges

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Sebastian Thrun who is the director of the Stanford AI Lab (SAIL) in California. He tells us how he won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge along with the Stanford Racing Team and Stanley the robot car using his secret ingredient, probabilistic robotics. He prepares us for a future where autonomous cars zigzag through traffic, bringing children, the elderly and workers to their destination in a safe and efficient manner.

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Talking Robots: Jean-Christophe Zufferey - Flying Insects and Robots

Fri, 31 Aug 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Jean-Christophe Zufferey who is a researcher at the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at the EPFL in Switzerland. He presents his 10g microflyer capable of navigating autonomously in small indoor areas based on a system inspired by the fly. Miniaturization, light-weight components, energy autonomy, and autonomous navigation.. so many subjects which need to be addressed in this precambrian era of aerial robotics.

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Talking Robots: Chris Melhuish - Energy Autonomy

Fri, 17 Aug 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Chris Melhuish, who is the director of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of Bristol and the West of England in the UK. Whether for your iPod or robot, we all crave for a better energy autonomy. Batteries, solar panels and gas tanks are the usual, but what if machines could digest bugs or waste to get on the move?

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Talking Robots: Haruhisa Kurokawa - Self-reconfigurable Modular Robots

Fri, 3 Aug 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Haruhisa Kurokawa, who is the head of the Distributed System Design Research Group, Intelligent Systems Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Japan. He presents one the leading robots in the area of self-reconfigurable modular robotics, the M-TRAN III (Modular Transformer). Their robots can change shape to walk, slither or crawl and why not become the cup of coffee you so badly need?

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Talking Robots: Martin Haegele - The European Robotics Market

Fri, 20 Jul 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Martin Haegele, who is the head of the Robot Systems Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, Germany. With his feet well anchored to the ground, he gives us an overview of today's European robotics Market and tomorrow’s trends.

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Talking Robots: Daniel Wilson - How to Survive a Robot Uprising

Fri, 6 Jul 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Daniel Wilson about his Rave Award winning book on "How to Survive A Robot Uprising". With his humor in pocket, Daniel walks us through the worst Sci-Fi and Hollywood robot attacks. Luckily, his PhD in robotics and army of CMU colleagues are full of resources when it comes to detecting the weak points of their robot protégés.

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Talking Robots: Roger Quinn - Insect-like Locomotion

Fri, 22 Jun 2007 01:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Roger Quinn, who is the director of the Biologically Inspired Robotics Lab at Case Western Reserve University. From the most complex to the simplest robots, whether they evolve on ground or in the air, his robots all have something to take from and something to give to the understanding of insect locomotion. Don't know what a Wheg is?

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Talking Robots: David Hanson - Human-like Social Robots

Fri, 8 Jun 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to David Hanson about human-like social robots and his company Hanson Robotics. If you fancy tea with Einstein or a Sci Fi discussion with Philippe K. Dick, he might be able to provide you with some interesting look-alikes.

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Talking Robots: Yasuo Kuniyoshi - Embodied Cognition

Fri, 25 May 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Yasuo Kuniyoshi about embodied cognition. By confronting his human size humanoids to their environment he proves that lifting heavy objects or performing some acrobatic moves become a piece of cake. When augmented with a pinch of chaos theory and a baby size humanoid, Yasou Kuniyoshi attempts to show us that embodied cognition might explain a lot about the way babies move and develop.

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Talking Robots: Dario Floreano - Evolutionary Robotics

Fri, 11 May 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we talk to Dario Floreano about evolutionary robotics. From evolution to learning and from single robots to swarm systems, Prof. Floreano presents how evolutionary robotics can be used to understand biological systems and design efficient control for robots.

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Talking Robots: Rodney Brooks - Behavior Based Robotics

Fri, 27 Apr 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Rodney Brooks on behavior based robotics. He talks about how mosquitoes in Thailand caused a fundamental shift in artificial intelligence, how to build robots that sell, and how 50 years from now you'll be fighting with your robot for spare parts.

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Talking Robots: Laurent Keller - Robots and Biology

Fri, 13 Apr 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview the biologist Laurent Keller on his experience with using robots for Biology. He talks about the advantages of using robots rather than theoretical models and computer simulations alone, and he comments on whether we should build animal-robot hybrids and artificial animals.

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Talking Robots: Jun Tani - Cognitive Robotics

Fri, 30 Mar 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Jun Tani on robot cognition and robot consciousness. He talks about robot, animal and human brains, meta-level cognition, and on his interest in building schizophrenic robots.

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Talking Robots: Auke Ijspeert - Salamander robot swims and walks

Fri, 16 Mar 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Auke Ijspeert on his amphibious salamander robot. He explains how central pattern generators are a powerful tool to link simple high-level commands to complex patterns of locomotion including gait changes, and how they are used in his robot.

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Talking Robots: Metin Sitti - Nano-Robotics

Fri, 02 Mar 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Metin Sitti on nano-materials such as artificial gecko hairs for robotics. He talks about his wall-climbing robots, about the advantages of down-scaling robots, about the state of the art in micro-robotics, and about the potential of hybrid bio-mechanical robots.

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Talking Robots: Marco Dorigo - Swarm Robotics

Fri, 16 Feb 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode of "Talking Robots" Marco Dorigo discusses his research in swarm robotics and swarm intelligence, and gives his views on the goals that should be targeted in these young disciplines as well as the challenges that researchers in these fields will face.

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Talking Robots: Rolf Pfeifer - New AI

Fri, 02 Feb 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode of "Talking Robots" we interview Rolf Pfeifer, about the last 50 years in artificial intelligence, the "new AI", the central role of embodiment for intelligence, and his new popular science book.

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Talking Robots: Owen Holland - Robot Consciousness

Fri, 19 Jan 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Owen Holland about his rediscovery of the first autonomous robot ever built, his research in artificial consciousness and his life-size 'anthropomimetic' humanoid robot which closely copies human muscular and skeletal structure.

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Talking Robots: Olivier Michel - Robot Simulation as a Business Opportunity

Fri, 05 Jan 2007 07:00:00 GMT

In this interview we talk to Olivier Michel, the founder of Cyberbotics Ltd., about his business experience with robot simulation, his current and future customers, software patents and on how robotics can help us to keep factories in Europe.

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Talking Robots: Josh Bongard and Hod Lipson - Resilient Machines through continuous self modeling

Fri, 22 Dec 2006 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Hod Lipson and Josh Bongard about a highly adaptive robot they built together with Victor Zykov that can continue working in spite of damage such as a lost leg, and on the future of this technology.

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Talking Robots: Raja Chatila - Robot Navigation

Fri, 08 Dec 2006 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Raja Chatila on the state of the art in robot navigation, on how to marry traditional Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) with bio-inspired, reactive approaches, and on why your living room is more complex to navigate than an extraterrestrial planet.

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Talking Robots: Luc Steels - Evolution of Communication and Language

Fri, 24 Nov 2006 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Luc Steels about language evolution, the cognitive and genetic basis for language, and the importance of embodiment and robot experiments for understanding communication.

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Talking Robots: Francesco Mondada - Starting a Business in Research Robotics

Fri, 10 Nov 2006 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Francesco Mondada on his experience with starting a business in research robotics, on the potential of robots for creating bridges between disciplines and on nature as an inspiration and challenge for roboticists.

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Talking Robots: Barbara Webb - Biorobotics

Fri, 27 Oct 2006 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode Barbara Webb presents her cricket robot, explains why it is sometimes easier to build a robot than a computer model, and speculates on the future of animal-robot hybrids.

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Talking Robots: Uwe Zimmer - Underwater robotics

Thu, 12 Oct 2006 20:55:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Uwe Zimmer about underwater robots and his work on autonomous under water submarine swarms.

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Talking Robots: Terry Fong - Human-Robot Teams

Fri, 29 Sep 2006 07:00:00 GMT

In this episode we interview Terry Fong about peer-to-peer human-robot interactions in a team including a seam-welding humanoid robot, an inspection space rover, a remote support crew and two astronauts.

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Talking Robots: Dario Floreano - Robotics and Artificial Intelligence

Fri, 15 Sep 2006 15:00:00 GMT

In this first episode we interview Dario Floreano, the initiator and editor in chief of Talking Robots, about his motivations for this podcast, and about the roots, the current trends and the future of robotics and artificial intelligence.

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