Carnegie Mellon to introduce one of world's first roboreceptionists


Carnegie Mellon University will introduce Valerie, one of the world's first robotic receptionists. Valerie is a "woman" with lots of attitude and many stories to tell. Professionally attired, she sits in a specially designed reception booth in the lobby of Newell-Simon Hall on the university campus, turning her brilliant blue gaze on everyone who passes by. Her sensors alert her to the presence of people and she offers assistance and directions to the lost or confused. If you ask the right questions, she'll tell you about her life, her psychiatrist, her aspirations to be a lounge singer and how much she hates to date vacuum cleaners.

Valerie is the product of a two-and-a-half-year collaboration between researchers in Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute in the School of Computer Science and the School of Drama in the College of Fine Arts. They are interested in developing social robots, studying human-computer interaction and melding the arts and technology. Key faculty are Reid G. Simmons, research professor in the Robotics Institute, and Anne Mundell, associate professor in the School of Drama. An expert in artificial intelligence, Simmons has been working for more than a decade on human-robot social interaction. Mundell has a special interest in computer applications for the theater. Her expertise in storytelling and emotion, combined with her students' dramatic writing skills bring depth to Valerie's personality, which is programmed into the robot with software developed by Simmons and his students.

For more information on Valerie, check her Web site:

Valerie will be demonstrated and members of the media will have an opportunity to interact with her.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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