Bielefeld Robot Flobi on TV Show “Quarks & Co”

The German regional TV station, WDR, invited the Bielefeld robot Flobi to its studios in Cologne. The research prototype will appear on Tuesday 12 November at 9pm on one of the most successful science magazine programmes in Germany, ‘Quarks & Co’. The theme of the show is ‘The robots are coming’ (Die Roboter kommen). Flobi will challenge the presenter and physicist Ranga Yogeshwar to a game of memory in the studio.

The programme shows what robots look like today, what they are capable of and what they need to learn in order to live in harmony with people one day. As an example of this, the robot head Flobi will be shown. The prototype has been developed by researchers at the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) of Bielefeld University. With Flobi’s help, the researchers wish to analyse the things people pay attention to when communicating with robots. At the same time, they wish to investigate how a robot can be designed so that people can interact with it as easily and naturally as with humans.

Two researchers working on developing Flobi are CITEC doctoral students Simon Schulz and Andreas Kipp. They accompanied Flobi to the recording of the show in Cologne. Andreas Kipp has equipped Flobi with the skills needed to play memory against a person. ‘He played well against Ranga Yogeshwar’, said the informatics researcher, ‘but I am not going to give the game away and say who won.”

Flobi has already been on television in a brief appearance in a popular German TV crime thriller ‘Tatort’. It appeared alongside iCub, a humanoid robot, which is also used for research purposes at CITEC.

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Dr Frank Hegel, Bielefeld University
Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology(CITEC)
Telefon: 0521 106-12214