img_2958Robots and Avatars held a panel discussion at the Kinetica Art Fair in London on 6th Feburary 2010 which looked at future collaboration with robots and avatars in work and play space.

The panel was made up of some fascinating experts from digital, creative, academica and educational sectors and included Professor Noel Sharkey (University of Sheffield), Ron Edwards (Ambient Performance), Ghislaine Boddington (body>data>space), Peter McOwan (Queen Mary University of London), Anna Hill (Space Synapse) and Michael Takeo Magruder (King’s Visualisation Lab, King’s College London).

Ghislaine Boddington introduced the event by talking about body>data>space’s work and how the Robots and Avatars programme will “look at robots and avatars in the future, and examine how young people will work and play with representative forms in both the virtual and physical worlds.” Peter McOwen revealed details of his work on a European project called LIREC: Living with Robots and Interactive Companions and delved into human relationships with robots. Anna Hill from Space Synapse explored how earth to space collaborations work and emphasises the imporatance on a ‘feminised view of technology’. Michael Takeo Magruder talked about how we relate to avatars and share with us his work at Kings College Visualisation Lab within Second Life. Bringing the virtual into the workplace was the central theme of Ron Edwards’s presentation as he explained about his “enterprise-grade virtual worlds” that bring data into virtual training environments. Robots And Avatars stalwart and project champion Noel Sharkey wrapped up the presentations by talking about his new phrase “Robatars” – suggesting a hybrid between robots and avatars and challenging the ways in which we think of them now.

Click here to see further content from the Collaborative Futures Panel, including Steve Boxer’s full report on the Panel.