IAAC – Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction
Workshop 2.2
Faculty: Madeline Gannon
Faculty Assistant : Daniil Koshelyuk



Photo Credits: Madeline Gannon / ATONATON


After 50 years of promises and potential, robots are beginning to leave the lab to live in the wild with us. But how should we coexist with these intelligent, autonomous machines? In this workshop, Dr. Madeline Gannon teaches how to breathe life into machines — how to push beyond robots as tools of automation or collaboration, and explore new models of companionship between humans and robots. This one-week workshop combines lectures, hands-on learning, and direct mentorship to help students find their own unique perspective into the future of human-robot relations.

What makes a robot a good flatmate?

How can a robot enhance my experience of an environment?

How can I be a better caretaker to my robot?

Why wouldn’t my robot want to go for a walk with me?

Dr. Gannon has prepared three interactive demonstrations to share with workshop attendees. The demonstrations will show how to tease out different personality traits from a robot. She will explain how each demonstration was made, including an in-depth review of all source code. Workshop attendees will then break into small teams, and mix / modify / mash-up these demonstrations to make their very own interactive robotics installation. Students are encouraged to bring a level of humor, frivolity, maximalism, and fun to their explorations with these machines. This is your chance to properly misuse this technology in new and interesting ways. Your new installation is a speed project it should be minimal in scope, and more like a sketch or vignette into a larger idea. Balance technical ambition with creative expression: teams will only have 2.5 days to dream up, develop, and document their projects. At the final session of the workshop, each team will present a live demonstration and a 30 – 90 second video showcasing the personality of their machine. Teams may develop their installation in whatever programming environment they feel most comfortable — workshop staff will be on-hand to assist in porting code, whenever possible.

Learning Objectives 

This workshop teaches participants how to breathe life into machines. At the end of the week, participants will have created their own personable robot and will leave with a deeper understanding of how to design interactive robotic installations.