Virginia Tech® home

"Robot Musical Theater" presentation at ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction

February 15, 2022

"Robot Musical Theater" project, supported by ICAT and CHCI SEAD Grant, has a Late Breaking presentation at ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, March 7th-10th 2022. HRI 2022 is the 17th annual conference for basic and applied human-robot interaction research and is the flagship conference in HRI. Researchers from across the world present their best work to HRI to exchange ideas about the theory, technology, data, and science furthering the state-of-the-art in human-robot interaction. 

The “Robot Musical Theater” project, a collaboration between CHCI members Tanner Upthegrove (ICAT), Philart Jeon (ISE), and colleagues investigates the use of humanoid robots to educate and motivate into action people on the subject of climate change.The use of social robots has recently been investigated in various areas, including STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and artistic performances. To inform children of the seriousness of climate change and awareness that they can make change, researchers created the Robot Musical Theater performance. In this project, natural elements (wind, earth, fire, and water) were anthropomorphized and represented by humanoid robots (Pepper, Milo, and Nao). The robots were designed to motivate the audience to participate in the action to prevent climate change. Because of COVID, only fourteen visitors as a single group were allowed to participate in real-time and posted to YouTube, where at the time of submission, 141 people have viewed the performance. The participants provided positive comments on the performance and showed their willingness to participate in the movement to prevent climate change, and expressed their further interest in STEM learning. This performance is expected to contribute to enhancing informal STEM and robotics learning, as well as advancing robotic arts. 

Paper: Lee, Y., Wyatt, A., Dong, J., Upthegrove, T., Hale, B., Lyles, C. H., Choi, K., Kim. J., Yi, S., Vajir, D., Newbill, P., & Jeon, M. (2022). Robot musical theater for climate change education. Proceedings of the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI2022), Online (originally Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan), March 7-10.