May 06, 2016      

Dr. Charles Fritz designed a class for high school students called “Robotic History/Robotic Psychology.” The course informs students about the history of robotics and examines human-robot interaction.

Dr. Fritz, who says he’s not a roboticist but a social studies teacher and robot sociologist, claims this course isn’t offered at any other high school in the United States. “Creating and learning about this course was the only way I could get involved in [robotics],” he says.

Robots and humans are increasingly interacting. And these interactions no longer are simply robots in factories stamping out car fenders. Some believe humans will even have romantic relationships with robots. Dr. Fritz’s class does not examine the possibility of romance with robots, but he’s adamant that any human-robot interaction that does occur is significant and needs to be studied.

“People are scared of being over taken by machines, one way to combat such fear is to learn about them and our interactions with them,” says Dr. Fritz. “So the class focuses on instances like when the Sony Aibo went out of production and their Japanese owners were having funeral services for their fallen pets. We also examine the personalization of robots like Nao or Pepper and how they are used in the home and workplace.”

Dr. Fritz joined The Robotics Trends Show to discuss the keys to human-robot interaction and some of the parameters his students created for how humans and robots can co-exist.

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