In 2012 Tony’s work was named as one of “ten life-changing ideas under research at UK universities” by Research Councils UK, and in 2014 his work was lauded as one of “20 new ideas from the UK that will change the world“. Recently this work has led to a spin-off company (Syntheligence) and to the uptake of this research in clinical practice, in which robots are used to complement the support and education of hospitalized children.
Starting from the premise that intelligence is rooted in social interaction, Tony and his team try to further the science and technology behind artificial intelligence and social robots. This results in a spectrum of results, from theoretical insights to practical applications.
From hospitals, through to the home and the classroom, Tony sees a bright future where robots can help young children learn, stay healthy and provide care support. For several years now his work has focused on the therapeutic benefits of looking at child-robot interactions. Work that started in the research laboratories around Europe is now being taken up by commercial organizations keen to establish a “first to market” presence in these developing application areas – that potentially – have large commercial benefits alongside significant medical ones.
Tony tells you everything about the interesting and extremely varied world of social robots, from the use of robots delivering therapeutic interventions to the possibilities a friendly classroom robot has to offer.