AFORA (Amy for Arcada) is a learning and development project where we, together with students and co-workers, explore possibilities with humanoid robots in different studying contexts. The project is made possible by financial support from the Lindstedt Foundation. 

Robotics has been a technology for industry and engineering for many decades, especially in manufacturing. With the great advancements in technology during recent years, robots are being equipped with impressive capabilities in computer vision, natural language processing, and AI driven dialogue and action. Because of this, robots of various forms are being developed and deployed in both business and public service contexts, as well as in our homes. We can expect that robots and robotic services could become an integral part of our work, our learning, and our living.  

The aim of our project is to provide hands-on experience with humanoid service robots for students and staff, to improve our knowledge and understanding about robots and robotic services, and to gain insights and obtain learnings related to robotics in an educational setting. 

Our project has taken some large steps forward during this spring. Two service robots arrived at Arcada and we welcomed them with a happy robot shower in March and kicked off the next phase of the project with our colleagues at Arcada UAS.  

The robots also got their names: The Sanbot Elf will be called Alf, and the Waitress bot from Csjbots will be called Amy. We are in the process of recording and editing short tutorials of how to use Alf and Amy. The videos will soon be published as a series, but for now, please have a look at our teaser of what’s to come. External link 

We work in a great cross-disciplinary team on this project and it is great to see how the viewpoints from different disciplines are crucial in an education and research project like this. We are excited about the next steps and now that the robots are here, the actual learning can begin. We believe that we are the first ones to have these bots in Finland – Waitress Amy and Sanbot Elf. Busy but exciting times!  

We will be participating in Arcadas Research Fair Online on March the 31st.  
In the meantime, we wish everybody and your loved ones safe and well. 

Christa Tigerstedt, Shuhua Liu and Dennis Biström