Patrick Martin and students in the robotics lab

University of Richmond Computer Science Professor Patrick Martin Receives Grant Support for Robotics Research

Grant News

Performance at Technology Festival to Showcase Human-Robot Teams

April 3, 2024

UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — Computer science professor Patrick Martin has received grant support for an upcoming performance highlighting his robotics research.

Martin, a roboticist who joined the University of Richmond faculty in fall 2023, has received funding from the Commonwealth Cyber Initiative to study human and robot interactions. Through a partnership with a colleague at Virginia Commonwealth University, and working with undergraduate researchers in his robotics lab at UR, Martin’s research team choreographs a performance to showcase humans and robots working together. 

The team will present their recent work on April 10 during the New Music + Technology Festival being held at Virginia Tech. The performance, “Trust Me on This,” explores AI-based gesture recognition and the concept of trust in human-robot interactions. This duet for a dancer and mobile manipulator robot will ask not just how they might choose to move together, but also when and why.

UR undergraduate researchers worked with Martin to develop computer vision algorithms that enable to a robot to respond to a dancer’s motions. This project also explores how robots might build trust in their human partners by using a history of live human interactions to shape future robot decisions. Martin says the applications go far beyond the performing arts.

“This research has applications in healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and agriculture,” Martin said. “I collaborate with people in advanced manufacturing here in Virginia, and one goal of this research is to move it out of the lab. Instead of just being theory, I think it’s way more important for roboticists to really push out into the field and in public spaces.”