Science and Technology

Andreas Wichert exhibition surprises visitors with interactive robot

Exhibition of digital paintings surprises visitors with interactive robot in the Civil Engineering Building.

From April 26th to May 6th, the exhibition “Art and Technology interconnect at Técnico” was exhibited in the Civil Engineering Building, with a range of paintings done by Professor Andreas Wichert, professor of Técnico at Taguspark and researcher at the Institute of Systems and Computer Engineering (INESC-ID). But this was no ordinary exhibition. Art was associated with technology, with the presence of an interactive robot – Vizzy – that interacted with visitors throughout the exhibition.

Andreas Wichert soon fell in love with painting, but his family advised him to seek a profession that could offer greater stability. For that reason, he temporarily dropped his passion for art and bet on his training in the fields of Philosophy and Computer Science.

His passion for painting took shape and quickly he reconciled his activity as a research professor and a self-taught painter. His digital paintings have already been presented in Germany and Poland. And, although he has Polish nationality, it was in Portugal that Professor Andreas Wichert has chosen to live and work. Taguspark campus hosted his first exhibition, in a collection of art that reflects the childhood of the author and his experiences, through his look.

Professor Alexandre Bernardino of the Institute of Systems and Robotics (ISR) invited the professor and artist Andreas Wichert to also hold an exhibition on the Alameda campus. It’s art form and the possibility of associating to this exhibition a more interactive component that is somehow related to the area of computing, through a joint work  of several members of the Computer and Robot Vision Laboratory (VisLab), within the framework of a thesis of doctoral student João Avelino. Through a research work in the area of social robotics, in partnership between ISR and the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Lisbon “the fundamental objective is to study engagement“, the connection and interaction between people and robots, says Professor Alexandre Bernardino.

“In Social Psychology there is a set of models that studies how people interact with each other and how they decide to meet and start talking. Very simple things like, from a distance, nod. Then when people go in direction to each other, they go with their heads down. They won’t look directly because it’s threatening. When they arrive they don’t stand face to face, they stand on the side. So, there are a number of social signs there that are common in interaction with humans and we have implemented some of these programs in the robot,” he explains.

Based on the Model of Adam Kendon, this research work is based on the collection of data resulting from the real interactions in Andreas Wichert’s exhibition and evaluation of the interactions between humans and robots, based on social protocols and cultural aspects.