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Friday October 13, 2006, 8:00-9:00
Convention Hall No. 1, Level 2

  Plenary Talk IV:



What is a Breakthrough toward Human Robotics?



Professor Suguru Arimoto

Ritsumeikan University


What is a decisive difference between a mechanical hand and our human hand? The robot hand can not be a versatile tool, even if it is made to resemble a human hand exactly in shape and mechanism. Even at the present age of robotics, it is too clumsy to perform a variety of ordinary tasks that a human encounters in his or her everyday life. In this talk, I claim that the clumsiness manifests the lack of knowledge of everyday physics and as well the lack of scheme for designing an artificial CNS (Central Nervous System) for the robot so as to cope with its sophisticated interplays with environments of everyday tasks. Here, the term "everyday physics" is used as a scientific domain related to accountability of dexterous accomplishment of ordinary tasks through manipulating things, with or without sensing and with or without consciousness as seen in ordinary human life. Here, design of an artificial CNS should be a domain of science and engineering that should be called "human robotics". It should be a core of robotics that attempts to unveil secrets of human intelligent behaviors from perception to action and vice versa. Actually, a half century ago N. A. Bernstein was enthusiastic in perceiving the mysteries of dexterity of human movements with redundant Degrees-of-Freedom regardless of illposedness of inverse kinematics. Our multifingered hand must be a wonderful organ with redundant joints that exhibits the mysteries of dexterity and versatility but still hides a secret of how adequately the central nervous system evokes neuro-motor signals.

This talk discusses on what must be a breakthrough toward "human robotics" through illustrating two simple but mysterious (unsolved) problems: 1) multi-joint point-to-point reaching movements with redundant DOFs and 2) 3-Dimensional stable grasping and object manipulation by a multi-fingered hand with redundant joints. The importance of incorporative approach of robotics and brain science is emphasized throughout the talk.



Professor Suguru Arimoto was born on 3 August 1936 in Hiroshima, Japan. He received B.S. degree in mathematics from Kyoto University, Japan, in 1959 and Dr. Eng. Degree in control engineering from the University of Tokyo, Japan, in 1967. From 1959 to 1961 he was with Oki Electric Industry Co.Ltd., Tokyo, as an engineer in Electric Computer Department. From 1962 to 1967 he was Research Assistant, and from 1967 to 1968 Lecturer in the Department of Mathematical Engineering and Information Physics, the University of Tokyo. In 1968 he jointed the Faculty of Engineering Science at Osaka University, Osaka, Japan, as Associate Professor, and in 1973 he was promoted as Professor of Systems Engineering. In 1988 he was invited to join the University of Tokyo as Professor of the Department of Mathematical Engineering and Information Physics. In 1997 he retired from the University of Tokyo and moved to Ritsumeikan University, where he contributed to establishment of a new department. Since 1997 he has been Professor in the Department of Robotics. His research interests are in information theory, control theory, cybernetics, robotics, and machine intelligence. In recent years, he is anxious to unveil secrets of dexterity of human movements from the standpoint of robotics. He is IEEE Fellow (1983), IEICE Fellow (2000), RSJ Fellow (2003), and JSME Fellow (2005), and was awarded the Royal Medal with a Purple Ribbon from the Japanese Government in 2000, and the IEEE 3rd Millennium Medal from the IEEE in 2000, and the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Pioneer Award in 2006.