EE Students at We Robot 2015 Conference
With emerging technologies such as personal drones and surgical robotics becoming more commonplace, discussing the legal and ethical issues of robots is becoming increasingly important. Bringing together students from various universities and fields of study to explore questions regarding the impact of robots on society, the fourth annual conference on robotics, law and policy, We Robot 2015, will be held on the UW Campus April 10-11.
We Robot 2015 fosters communication between engineers who design and build robots and people working in the legal field who make decisions impacting how robots are permitted to operate. Held at the UW School of Law, attendance is free, but registration is required.
The conference is an opportunity for engineers and computer scientists to interact with the legal community to help design future policy and law, said EE Professor and co-director of the UW BioRobotics Lab, Howard Chizeck, who is a member of the conference program committee.
"Questions of policy, ethics and legality that arise from new technologies are being addressed as they arise, or in anticipation of new developments, rather than after they become crises,” Chizeck said.
Several demonstrations and two papers involve UW EE BioRobotics Lab students:
- I Did It My Way: On Law And Operator Signatures for Teleoperated Robots, by Tamara Bonaci, Aaron Alva, Jeffrey Herron, Ryan Calo and Howard Chizeck.
To ensure that remote robots (like drones or surgical robots) are not "taken over" and operated by others, methods are needed to make these systems secure. Determining who is operating a remote robot is possible based on how the operator moves, as everyone has a unique "signature." Based on this, it is possible to verify that the system has not been compromised. Addresses this technology, the paper also explores legal issues such as liability. In addition to BioRobotics Lab students, authors include law student Aaron Alva and law professor Ryan Calo.
- Personal Responsibility in the Age of User-Controlled Neuroprosthetics, by Patrick Moore, Timothy Brown, Jeffrey Herron, Margaret Thompson, Tamara Bonaci, Sara Goering and Howard Chizeck.
Implanted neural devices, such as Deep Brain Stimulators, are used to treat a wide variety of movement disorders such as Essential Tremor, Parkinson's Disease and Dystonia. Researchers have been working to provide feedback control of these devices, so stimulation is only turned on when needed to avoid undesirable side effects and also save battery life. Researchers are also exploring ways to enable patients to adjust their stimulation by "thinking.” This paper addresses questions such as how the patient's perception of the device changes when the control is voluntary and whether the device is controlling the person, or the person is controlling the device. In addition to BioRobotics Lab students, authors include law student Patrick Moore, philosophy student Timothy Brown and philosophy/bioethics faculty member Sara Goering.