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2018 Gibbons Lecture 1: Robotics Research in New Zealand

3 May 2018: 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

University of Auckland,
Owen G Glenn Building,
Room OGGB 3/260-092,
Level 0,
12 Grafton Road,

There is public parking in the basement of the Owen G Glenn Building at 12 Grafton Road.

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2018 Gibbons Lectures in association with ITP

The Computer Science Department at the University of Auckland, in association with IT Professionals New Zealand, is pleased to announce the Gibbons Lecture Series for 2018. This year the lectures address aspects of Robotics in Industry and at Home.

Robots Everywhere
Robotics in Industry and at Home

A robot is a machine capable of sensing and carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially when controlled by computer programs. It seems that every day we hear news items concerning robots, the tasks that they are now able to perform and how they are expected to interact with humans.

Particularly newsworthy are autonomous robots that operate without immediate human control and androids that are made to resemble humans, but most robots are machines designed to perform a task with the most practical shape for the task itself.

The branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation, and application of robots, is called robotics. Robotics is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering and science that involves mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science and other disciplines from the social sciences. In New Zealand, robotics is an active area of research.

The first speaker this year, Bruce MacDonald from our Faculty of Engineering, will overview the state of robotics research, especially local research directions. Mike Shatford, Managing Director of Design Energy, will follow with a summary of how robotics and supporting technologies are solving problems for industry, world-wide and in New Zealand, particularly in small and medium enterprises. From our Department of Computer Science, Patrice Delmas will discuss the problems of providing robots with vision. To end the lecture series, Elizabeth Broadbent from our Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences will present some of the social issues of interacting with robots and her research into this area.

Lecture 1: Robotics Research in New Zealand

We are constantly being told that robotic technology is soon going to dramatically change our lives. Indeed, it is true that robots, AI, machine-learning and automation have become much more affordable and capable in recent years.

With less fanfare, at the same time, farms, factories, homes and offices have felt a strong need to automate some tasks that are currently done manually. As well as machinery, this may involve measurement and monitoring, helping humans make decisions or taking over some parts of decision-making.

This presentation will describe international trends and some of the ongoing work and future directions for robotics research in New Zealand.

Please join us for refreshments from 6pm at Level 1 of Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road.

(Please see for other Gibbons lectures in the series)

About The Speaker

Bruce MacDonald completed a BE and PhD in the Electrical Engineering Department of the University of Canterbury. After working with NZ Electricity for three years and a year with the DSIR in Wellington, he moved to Canada and spent ten years in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary.

Returning to New Zealand in 1995, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Auckland, where he is now a professor. The department was then starting a new development in Computer Systems Engineering in which Bruce participated; he also founded the University's Robotics Laboratory.

His long-term goal is to design intelligent robotic assistants that improve the quality of people's lives, with primary research interests in human robot interaction and robot programming systems, and applications in areas such as healthcare and agriculture.

He is the director of the department's robotics group and the leader for the multi-disciplinary CARES robotics team at the University of Auckland. He is the vice-chair for the New Zealand Robotics, Automation and Sensing association. For New Zealand's National Science Challenge Science for Technological Innovation, he is the deputy director, theme leader for Sensors, Robotics and Automation and responsible for capacity development activities. He is co-chair for the IEEE technical committee on software engineering for robotics.

Drinks and nibbles will be served from 6pm on Level 1 of the Owen G Glenn building. Lecture commences at 6.30pm. Live streaming will also be available.

Find out more information about the Gibbons Lecture Series.


Registration Details:

Attendance is free, however please register below for catering and to secure your place.


Please note that this session may be video or audio recorded for viewing by other members at a later date. As it is possible that audience members may be incidentally recorded, please let us know if you specifically want to be excluded and we will ensure you are not shown.

Attendance Cost


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