Public Release: 

The 1st UAE Symposium on Social Robotics (including 30 workshops) kicks off at the UAEU University

UAEU Innovation Week Nov. 22-28, 2015

United Arab Emirates University

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015, witnessed the launch of Innovation Week. This lasts until the 28th of November and is being held under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of UAEU.

This week has more than 30 seminars and workshops directly concerned with creative and innovative projects and coincides with an innovation conference dedicated to robotics and its impact on research, development and human expertise. The event involves overseas researchers, UAEU faculty and other researchers from the university.

Dr. Al Noaimi, UAEU Vice Chancellor, said that hosting Innovation Week at UAEU was a response to the need to strengthen innovative thinking in national institutions. The university has taken on the responsibility to reflect this need in terms of its academia, and by making a creative and innovative strand fundamental to all of its courses. This is a realization of the university's role as the leading national university for research and academia.

He added that Innovation Week had many diverse sessions and workshops involving a number of experts and researchers from international centers.

The First Forum for Social Robots

This forum began with the Vice Chancellor's speech which was delivered by Professor Ghaleb Al Hadrami, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies, on behalf of the Vice Chancellor. The conference was then introduced by Dr. Massimiliano Cappuccio from the Department of Philosophy at UAEU. He was also a keynote speaker at the conference. After his speech Dr. Giorgio Metta of the Italian Institute of Technology presented a paper on 'The Future of Robotics Research', closely followed by Dr. Fady Al-Najjar on 'Mirror Neurons in Humans and Robots: A Way Into the Minds of Others.'

Mohamad Eid from New York University in Abu Dhabi will present a working paper on 'Bringing Touch to Human Computer Interaction', while Friederike Eyssel, a professor of psychology at both the New York University in Abu Dhabi and the University of Bielefeld, Germany will present a paper entitled 'What Makes Machines Social? A Psychological Perspective.' Dr. Peyvand Khaleghian from Amana Healthcare will present on the topic of 'Robots and Communications Technology for People with Special Needs.'

The second session will include presentations and interactive activities by Jacob Crandall of the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi and Dr. Jose Berengueres who will talk about the 'UAEU Media Laboratory.' Dr. Peyvand Khaleghian will then talk about Amana Healthcare, while Faisal Majeed will present on 'Pal Robotics.' There will then be a panel discussion on 'Stories of Humans and Robots in the UAE: the Social Sciences Factor.' This will be moderated by Dr. Manfred Malzahn from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at UAEU. Participants will include three lecturers from UAEU: Boumediene Belkhouche from the College of Information Technology; Fadwa Al Mughairbi from the Department of Psychology, and Mohammed Randari from the College of Engineering. The following day will see training workshops for staff development.

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