Robot & Frank: The Future of Computerized Companions
With computer scientist and roboticist Maja Mataric, roboticist and engineer Dennis Hong, and other guests in person
Dir. Jake Schreier. 2012, 90 mins. With Frank Langella, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Susan Sarandon. Preview screening, courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. Robot & Frank, winner of this year’s Alfred P. Sloan Foundation feature film prize at the Sundance Film Festival, is a dramatic, futuristic comedy about a curmudgeonly old jewel thief whose robot caretaker becomes an unlikely partner-in-crime and soulmate.
This program is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of its Public Understanding of Science and Technology initiatives.
Maja Mataric is a professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California, founding director of the USC Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems, co-director of the USC Robotics Research Lab and Vice Dean for Research in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. She received her PhD in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from MIT in 1994, MS in Computer Science from MIT in 1990, and BS in Computer Science from the University of Kansas in 1987. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the IEEE, and recipient of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring, the Okawa Foundation Award, NSF Career Award, the MIT TR100 Innovation Award, and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Early Career Award. She served as the elected president of the USC faculty and the Academic Senate. At USC she has been awarded the Viterbi School of Engineering Service Award and Junior Research Award, the Provost’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research Fellowship, the Mellon Mentoring Award, the Academic Senate Distinguished Faculty Service Award, and a Remarkable Woman Award.
Dr. Dennis Hong, a TED alumnus, is an Associate Professor and the Founding Director of RoMeLa (Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on robot locomotion and manipulation, autonomous vehicles and humanoid robots. He is the inventor of a number of novel robots and mechanisms, including the ‘whole skin locomotion’ for mobile robots inspired by how amoeba move, a unique three-legged waking robot STriDER, an air-powered robotic hand RAPHaEL, and the world’s first car that can be driven by the blind. His work has been featured on numerous national and international media. Washington Post magazine called Dr. Hong “the Leonardo da Vinci of robots.”