High-quality technical development alone is not enough to give robotics a meaningful place in society; input is also needed from the perspective of social research. Meaningfulness and sustainability can only happen through mutual exchange at eye level, was the consensus of a meeting with the Munich Centers for Technology in Society on 27 February.
Prof. Sabine Massen and her colleagues Dr. Benjamin Lipp, Henning Mayer and Marc Strotmann gained first insights into the work of the institute by means of a technology demonstration, and as experts for care assistance systems they were particularly interested in the project SMiLE - Service Robotics for People with Disabilities. In this project, concepts and assistance applications are developed to provide effective support in everyday life for people with disabilities and in need of care. The necessary technologies will be researched and brought to a level of maturity that will allow testing in realistic environments (e.g. in hospitals and apartments suitable for the elderly or disabled). DLR employee Dr. Daniel Leidner and SMiLE project manager Jörn Vogel explained how robotic technology can help caregivers, relatives and people with disabilities using the EDAN wheelchair assistant. The focus here is on the independence of those involved.
Furthermore, Dr. Bernhard Weber presented the interdisciplinary project GINA (high-quality designed interaction strategies for service and assistance robotics). GINA deals with the question of "good" human-robot interaction. What should robots look like and what do they have to be able to do to live together with humans? How can future users be involved in the development of robots at an early stage? Which ethical and legal aspects must be considered?