#ERW2017: robotics as a social inclusion tool in Spain (Press release by Hisparob)

Madrid, December 4th 2017

The last edition of the European Robotics Week (#ERW2017) was held on November 17th-26th, 2017. Promoted by the European robotics association, EuRobotics, this activity aims to bring robotics closer to society. As in previous years, companies, research centers, and schools have devoted themselves to hundreds of activities focused on dissemination and awareness. More than 950 events have been registered around Europe and about 300 in Spain. 

HispaRob, as one of the national coordinators, was in charge of promoting and carrying out specific activities, registering events in the official EuRobotics webpage, and informing on activities which had been carried out.

These tasks were primarily developed by the Grupo Temático de Robótica Educativa which focused on innovation and implication of the educational community. This was carried out alongside Mercedes Ruiz which has been a usual collaborator, a teacher with a PhD in Education and several initiatives behind her. 

The theme chosen for this edition was “A week of social inclusion and awareness”. With this theme we wanted to highlight how robotic technology can be a useful tool helping us to overcome barriers.

We began on Friday with an arts and robotics encounter (#artrobots) as creativity is one of the skills that can be worked through educational robotics, and a necessary skill when it comes to designing robots, no doubt.

On Saturday we had a #chatbot with Carolina Jiménez, a digital effects expert for cinema (currently working as a Layout Artist for Scanline, Vancouver) and a scientific communicator (official collaborator of Naukas and member of Science in Spanish and Círculo Escéptico). 

We dedicated Sunday to those professionals working in robotics, #teambot. Through brief interviews we got to know what drew them to robotics, what their projects are, how they contribute to society, etc. Amongst them we highlight the interview with Elena García Armada, robotics researcher for the CSIC, and Miguel Ángel Salichs, robotics professor at the Carlos III University of Madrid which talked about his projects on social robotics.

Monday was especially dedicated to social inclusion, #Augusrobot. As any other technology, robotics can be a very useful tool in this sense and we wanted to share different experiences.

Tuesday was a very especial day as it was dedicated to cinema, #cineyrobot, as a starting point for critical thinking and debate as to how we want robotic technology developed in our society. With “Cero en Conducta”, which have been working on media literacy plans for some time, we prepared a conference on science fiction cinema and the cinematographic industry, robotics industry, and education. This was held at La Academia de las Artes y las Ciencias Cinematográficas de España, and began with the screening of the science fiction and robotics film “Eva”. Afterwards, a round table was held with interventions from robotics and cinematography professionals leading to a debate with participants and secondary school students.

Wednesday and Thursday of our themed calendar were dedicated to two “classics” of ERW, robotic flash fiction, #erobots, and “robot” pictures around us #probots.

Friday was focused on the elderly, #aburobots, wondering how their quality of life and intergenerational relationships could be improved through robotics. On the one hand, robotics can be an interesting tool for tasks dealing with assistance and care, as well as for improving their autonomy. On the other hand, we explored how learning techniques applied on children and adolescents through “educational robotics” can be a tool to stimulate, motivate, and improve relationships between children and adolescents, and the elderly.

We would also like to highlight that the central event took place in Brussels. Furthermore, in Barcelona, PAL Robotics developed the ERL Robot League, a challenge in which service robots had to encounter activities of the daily living. Moreover, hundreds of schools held workshop, educational activities, and exhibitions. In addition robotic laboratories of Almería University and Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid held an open-house for students and the general public.

Finally, we would like to finish with the following message from Mercedes Ruiz @londones, which refers us to a playlist of all the videos on activities which have been carried out to serve as inspiration 365 days a year: “Along the year going from #erw2017 to #erw2018, ideas, thoughts, dreams, roads, and videos are provided to deliver in flipped classrooms and much more on this playlist #ERW2017”

About Hisparob

HispaRob (Plataforma Tecnológica Española de Robótica) is a nonprofit association whose aim is to promote robotics in Spain. One of its strategic directions is to support the educational area of robotics. This is why members of HispaRob interested in educational robotics form the Grupo Temático de Robótica Educativa. Currently, this group is made up of the companies Adele Robots, Arganbot, Gmv, iSchool, Logix5, Microlog, Prodel y SESA Sistemas, Universities of Almería, Alcalá de Henares and Carlos III University of Madrid, and the company network on Educational Innovation CONEXO.

Moreover, there is a close collaboration with educational and teaching institutions of different levels.

More information

Carmela Sánchez Nadal

HispaRob Technical Secretariat - Robotics Spanish Technological Platform - www.hisparob.es
Telephone: +34 91 624 40 48 
Twitter: @hisparob