MP Joanna Cherry visits ORCA Hub

ORCA Hub was delighted to host a visit from Edinburgh South West MP, Joanna Cherry, last week.

Driving a Cozmo robot at the "Robots in the Danger Zone" exhibition.

During our Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, "Robots in the Danger Zone", in July, Joanna visited our stand and had a chance to drive one of our Cozmo robots on a mission around the maze. The aim of our exhibition was to provide a hands-on experience for visitors using interactive technology to show how robots can be used in hazardous offshore environments for guidance, navigation and control. Interested in the Hub's research, a follow-up visit was arranged for Joanna to tour the Heriot-Watt Robotarium in October 2019.

When I met with the team in London, I said not only was I keen to visit the ORCA Hub in Edinburgh but to help promote their research and work in any way that I can. Today I was even more impressed by their achievements. The team are a shining example of what a Scottish University, working in collaboration with international partners, can achieve. They are a national treasure.

Joanna Cherry MP

During the visit, Joanna met several of the Robotarium's robots and members of the ORCA Hub research team, including Professor Helen Hastie, Dr. Katrin Lohan, Dr Jose Aguas Lopes and Muneeb Ahmad, who are researching intelligent human-robot interaction and how this can be used to remove human workers from hazardous offshore environments. She was also introduced to one of our newer robots, the Furhat, which is a conversational robot recently used to demonstrate an emergency response situation during our Blyth Capability Demonstrations.

Joanna Cherry meets Fred the Furhat.

Dr. Alistair McConnell was also on hand to discuss the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious visits which we have been hosting in recent weeks, in which groups of local Edinburgh school children visit the Robotarium and are introduced to basic robotics via the Cozmo robots. Muneeb Ahmad also gave a demonstration of the work the team have been undertaking which looks at cognitive load i.e. the amount of working memory resource used during a task.

Muneeb Ahmad demonstrates cognitive load

We were delighted to welcome Joanna to the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and for the opportunity to explain how we collaborate with industry through the ORCA Hub.

Dr Katrin Lohan, Director of the Social Robotics Group

We hope to have the opportunity to welcome Joanna to the ORCA Hub again in the future.