Carnegie Mellon to Host First International Workshop On Future of Robotics in Toy and Entertainment Markets

PITTSBURGH- Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute, in cooperation with the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, will host the first Workshop on Interactive Robotics and Entertainment (WIRE 2000), April 30 to May 1 on the university campus.

For the first time, experts in interactive robotics from academia and industry will share the podium with strategists and seers from the toy industry--estimated at more than $28 billion in the U.S. alone--to analyze the growing interaction between their fields and predict how it will change both areas in the future.

WIRE 2000 will involve robotics researchers and practitioners working on all aspects of human-robot interaction, including animate characters, intelligent agents, biomimetic robot behavior and robot personality design. The conference also will bring together industry leaders in interactive toy commercialization with industry and university robotics researchers. Complete information on WIRE 2000 can be found at the Web Some highlights of the conference are listed below.

On Monday, May 1, a panel of invited speakers will address "The Future of Entertainment Robots." Among them will be Doug Glen, chief strategist for Mattel, Inc., (El Segundo, Calif.); Isaac Larian, CEO MGA Entertainment, (North Hills, Calif.); Ian Horswill, Northwestern University assistant professor and director, Autonomous Robot Laboratory, developer of fast, inexpensive vision systems for robots; Henry Thorne, CEO, Probotics Inc. (Pittsburgh), manufacturer of personal robots for consumers, and Hans Moravec, principal research scientist at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and author of "Mind Children," and "Robot, Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind."

Another high point of the two-day event is RobotNight, from 8 p.m. to midnight, Sunday, April 30, a showcase for robotic and screen-based agents in entertainment and new media arts. Exhibits featured will include, but are not limited to, robotic toys, electronic artwork, robotic sculpture, artificial pets (both virtual and physical) and virtual characters. "The current public fascination with physical and virtual robots heralds the explosive growth of successful consumer robots that are interactive and entertaining," says conference co-chair Illah Nourbakhsh, assistant professor in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute. "In the next 10 years, robotics will drive all the toy and entertainment media."

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