Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) STP Visits KULT NTNU, Trondheim

In September, we welcomed four visiting scholars from Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), Daejeon, who stayed with the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, NTNU, for one month. Three of them were participants of LIFEBOTS Exchange, a Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) program coordinated by NTNU. The team leader Dr. Chihyung Jeon is also on the advisory board for our AUTOWORK project. 

As science, technology, and policy researchers, they are interested in how social contexts shape the material design and cultural meanings of social and healthcare robots. They are particularly interested in how the social acceptance of robotic systems is conditioned by the shared cultural values of a society. During the visit, both sides broadened our understanding of the situatedness of social robots through in-depth discussions with each other and other NTNU collaborators in the LIFEBOTS exchange program. 

They have also visited various robot-related research facilities at Trondheim, such as SINTEF, and explored the possibility of a cross-cultural analysis of the social acceptance of robots. 

They shared their work with KULT researchers by participating in a DigiKULT seminar on the 12. Sept. 2022. 

Heesun Shin, “Robots for the Elderly Living Alone and Reconfiguration of Care in South Korea”

Miryang Kang, “Becoming One with the Robot”: Paraplegics, Robots, and a New Way of Walking in the Cybathlon”

Sungeun Kim, “Particulate Matter Pollution and Science-Policy Interface in South Korea”

Chihyung Jeon, “STS and Disaster Investigation Reports in South Korea”

At the end of the visit, the KULT team also brought our KAIST guests the most exotic Norwegian experience: a musk-ox safari, a 6-hour hike through the mountains, and sharing good memories and discussions with our team. 

Chihyung Jeon is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, KAIST. He received his Ph.D. in STS (Science, Technology, and Society) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010. Before joining KAIST STP in 2011, he spent a year at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. In 2016-17, he was a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich. In January 2018, he was a visiting professor at the University of Vienna, teaching a graduate course on robotics and society.

Jeon conducts research on the relationship between humans and technologies within social and cultural contexts, examining various policy issues arising from specific human-technology-society configurations. He is interested in the feelings of control, empowerment, intimacy, anxiety, and loneliness that humans have in front of machines. He is the founder of “a.human,” a research network of scholars interested in atypical forms of humans—artificial, augmented, almost, or alternative.

Jeon’s affiliation with academic societies includes the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S, an elected Council member since 2020), Society for the History of Technology (SHOT), Korean Association of Science and Technology Studies (KASTS), and Korea History of Science Society (KHSS). As of 2021, he is an associate editor for East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal and a contributing editor for Technology and Culture, the official journal of SHOT. In 2019 and 2020, he served as the editor-in-chief for the Journal of Science and Technology Studies published by KASTS.

Heesun Shin is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, KAIST. She received B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering (KAIST, 2014) and M.S. in Science and Technology Policy (KAIST, 2016). Her research interests include cultures and politics of robotics and the human-robot relationship in the making from an STS perspective. As a thesis project, she is working on the ways in which robots are designed, developed, and used for elderly care in the South Korean public healthcare system. With Chihyung Jeon, she is producing a documentary film The Old Man and the Robot (working title), which follows the journey of Hyodol, an elderly care robot manufactured by a South Korean company, as the robot is designed, developed, distributed, and finally placed at the older adults’ home to take care of the elderly living alone.

Sungeun Kim is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, KAIST. He holds B.S. in Chemistry (KAIST, 2014) and M.S. in Science and Technology Policy (KAIST, 2017). He is interested in the sociotechnical coordination of remotely operated systems. In particular, his research project looks at how healthcare technologies such as telemedicine and teleoperated robots require the coordination of multiple actors (patients, nurses, doctors, roboticists, etc.) in diverse cultural settings. By doing so, he aims to examine factors that facilitate or hamper successful robotic healthcare.

Miryang Kang is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Science and Technology Policy, KAIST. She is interested in disability STS, human-robot relationships, crip technoscience, and user innovation. Her master’s thesis “Neither Human nor Robotic: Paraplegics, Exoskeleton Robots, and a New Way of Walking” (2020) looks at how disabled people and non-disabled roboticists and medical staff cooperated to engineer walking in preparation for the Powered Exoskeleton Race of Cybathlon. For her thesis, she is now expanding her research sites into rehabilitation hospitals, welfare centers, and disability rights activism to document disabled people as experts, designers, and users of the accessible world.

Selected Publication

– Miryang Kang, Heesun Shin, and Chihyung Jeon. “The Autonomous Walker: How Humans and Robots Generate and Distribute Autonomy.” Korean Journal of Science and Technology Studies 21, no. 3 (2021): 98-138. [in Korean]

– Chihyung Jeon, Heesun Shin, Sungeun Kim, and Hanbyul Jeong. “Talking Over the Robot: A Field Study of Strained Collaboration in a Dementia-Prevention Robot Class.” Interaction Studies 21, no. 1 (2020): 85-110.

– Sungeun Kim, Heesun Shin, Chihyung Jeon. “PyeongChang Olympics and the Crisis of Movement.” Philosophy of Movement: Journal of Korean Society for Philosophy of Sports, Dance & Martial Arts 26, no. 4 (2018): 67-85. [in Korean]

– Heesun Shin and Chihyung Jeon. “When Robots Meet the Elderly: The Contexts of Interaction and the Role of Mediators.” Korean Journal of Science and Technology Studies 18, no. 2 (2018): 135-179. [in Korean]

Advanced technologies and sustainable development goals (SDGs) (1): Smart city

Author: Caijun Zhao

Urbanization is one of the major trends around the world. The population in urban areas has been skyrocketing, which challenges urban living conditions and the environment. This could be due to the shortage of urban services for many people and air and water pollution. Good planning and management are the keys to ensuring the well-being of the population living in the cities. A smart city with a more efficient, sustainable, and livable environment becomes the goal for future cities. Robotics, digitalization, and automation play a significant role in achieving this goal. 

With the expansion of urbanized areas and the increase of urban problems, smart cities and intelligent buildings have been one of the hottest research topics, which covers a wide range of intelligent traffic and transportation, smart energy storage and usage, emergency management systems, and also deals with the issues in building comfort and energy saving, building safety control system and so on. 

The urban environment is becoming more and more complex. Meanwhile, the demand for environment and security is increasing. A robot presented in the paper of Yang et al. (2019) is designed to monitor the building environment and alert people by voice. With its small size and flexible movement, the robot enables the monitoring task in narrow and dangerous places. It is possible to control the robot through the mobile phone, providing users much more potential and convenience. Receiving an early warning is not enough to guarantee the safety of users in complex environments. An accurate navigation and integrated information system are needed to realize indoor positioning. As we have all experienced, navigation accuracy is poor in indoor environments, such as markets and museums. This is because the GPS signal is unstable indoors. Li and Wang (2019) conducted their research on improving accuracy in indoor navigation technology, which has enormous potential to improve the efficiency of resource utilization of large public buildings and guarantee safety and convenience for the public. In addition, many technological advances in reducing noise and establishing control models of temperature and humidity environments in smart buildings also significantly improve comfort and energy efficiency simultaneously. 

Reference:

Fang. Q., Zhu. Q., and Qiao, F. (2018). Advancements in Smart City and Intelligent Building. Proceedings of the International Conference on Smart City and Intelligent Building (ICSCIB 2018). ISBN 978-981-13-6732-8.

Yang. G, Wang. Y, and Chen. B (2019). Design of Buiding Environment Mobile Monitoring and Safety Early Warning Robot. Advancements in Smart City and Intelligent Building, pp.85-93.

Li. M and Wang. H. (2019) Application of Probabilistic Reasoning Algorithm in Indoor Positioning Based on WLAN. Advancements in Smart City and Intelligent Building, pp.95-113.

在挪威,再也没有“越狱”的山羊

编辑:Yu Cheng, Caijun Zhao

山羊脖子上的项圈是一个新科技系统的一部分,该系统允许山羊从物理围栏中解放出来,可以自由自在的在所限定牧场区域行走。照片: Roger A. Søraa博士, 挪威科技大学 (NTNU)

山羊是聪明的动物。现在在挪威,饲养山羊不再需要物理栅栏。2400多名挪威农民使用新技术来饲养动物。当牧场上的山羊听到“哔”的一声时,脑中就会响起铃声。因此,它停留在牧区的无形边界内。因此,它就避免了脖子上的项圈的电击。

这一项新技术实际上划定了牧区,它设置了虚拟的数字围栏,而不是实际的围栏。数字围栏,因为它减少了对传统围栏和人类控制的需要(例如传统上雇佣牧民),允许在野外和山区增加耕作。在挪威,农业土地的碎片化和丘陵性质使围栏成为重要的,而是传统农业中需要大量劳动的做法。因此,虚拟围栏被认为是一种有潜力修复现代农业某些缺陷的技术,而智能技术和数字围栏的推进将数字化和新技术的论述与文化景观的利用和保护的论述联系起来。

虽然,在采取增产措施后,挪威的绵羊数量从2014年到2017年增加了9%。然而,这导致了生产过剩,盈利能力下降,2017年后的几年里绵羊数量下降了12%。许多较小的牧羊场由于农场继承而倒闭。这些数字和例子来自NIBIO 2019年版的年度出版物《挪威农业-现状和趋势》,该出版物概述了挪威农业的主要方面。该出版物是各种统计资料的汇编,扼要介绍了挪威农业部门的现状和趋势。

五年来,挪威的这项智能技术为饲养山羊提供了几乎无限的机会。2400多名挪威农民用它来饲养牲畜。

关于这项技术和现象的最新研究是: “Boundaryless boundary-objects: Digital fencing of the CyborGoat in rural Norway”, 由Roger Andre Søraaa 和 JosteinVik发表在Journal of Rural Studies,Volume 87, October 2021, Pages 23-31。

本篇文章主要研究了以下几点:

  • 虚拟放牧和数字围栏是向“智能农业”过渡的一部分。
  • 农民可以设置无形的界限,山羊必须学会使用。
  • 新的无边界的边界创造了谈判山羊养殖的新方法。
  • 结构需求和安排创造了科技化山羊的解释灵活性。
  • “电子山羊”是自然-文化-技术的产物。

这篇文章介绍了挪威山羊虚拟放牧和数字围栏技术实施的一个案例研究。随着实体围栏的废除,山羊可以在物理意义上实现自由漫步,但在数字领域,它们被虚拟围栏控制。虚拟围栏或数字边界由农民设置,并与山羊脖子上的项圈互动。这个项圈首先发出一个声音信号,然后,如果山羊越过了边界,就会给它们一个小的电击,从而产生新的分类和现实秩序。本文将着重探讨这种颠覆对当代山羊养殖的影响,包括(智能)养殖的实践、观念和政策,以及山羊本身是如何被赋予新的意义和生存方式的。本文运用边界对象的理论概念对其进行分析,探讨智能养殖技术如何改变具有多重能动和自主性的山羊。协作和互动是可能的,尽管行动者有很大不同的目标。通过多方的协商,在自然、文化和技术之间出现了一种新型的山羊。我们将其定义为电子山羊。这一边界对象促进了新的日常农业设置,为不同的利益相关方带来了新的利益和问题。

我们的重点是开发和推广智能养殖解决方案,并以一种针对山羊的虚拟围栏技术作为案例研究。人类驯养山羊已经有一万多年的历史了,在世界上许多农业地区山羊都很常见。驯养山羊并非易事。山羊既灵活又聪明,而且它们学得很快。所以把它们关在栅栏里是相当困难的,因为它们经常会被撕扯,或者,如果它不够高,干脆跳过栅栏。

山羊是“越狱高手”

关于山羊越狱的实例有很多。例如,在美国,一山羊帮助75名同伴成功“越狱”,成功多次,至今“逍遥法外。 在国内,如果,像这样的山羊“越狱”掉落高速就太危险了,还好警民联手抓回“拦路羊”。山羊从屠宰场“越狱”,在派出所好吃好喝后被送回,这些新闻在网上有很多。

图片来源:腾讯新闻

它的工作原理

照片:Associate Professor. Roger A. Søraa, 挪威科技大学 (NTNU)

当山羊离开该区域时,信号会发送到农民的智能手机或平板电脑上。这反过来会触发一种增强强度的哔哔声。如果山羊很长一段时间没有注意到这种哔哔声,它就会受到脖子上挂着的项圈的轻微电击。

山羊很聪明,大多数人很快就能知道,当它们越过边境时,会听到哔的一声,然后是电击。在受到冲击之前需要一段时间,所以山羊应该有一个很好的机会回到正确的区域。事实上,有些山羊非常狡猾,它们会在边境外吃草,然后在被击中前掉头。Ruralis和NTNU跨学科文化研究系副教授Søraa博士说,这听起来有点音乐的味道。我们研究了山羊、人类和新型智能养殖技术之间的复杂关系,这些关系在我们称之为“电子山羊”的概念中结合在一起,这是自然-养殖-技术的产物。对这个概念的解读包括研究技术的开发过程。

Roger Andre Søraa, Associate Professor – Ph.D. in Studies of Technology and Society

研究团队研究的技术是挪威一家名为Nofence AS的小公司开发的一种特定品牌的虚拟放牧技术“Nofence”。这家创新公司成立于2011年,正如一名开发者在采访中所说的那样,公司的愿景是“通过给动物更多的活动空间和更少的限制空间,来更好地利用外场区域,提高动物的福利。” Nofence的工作原理是,给装有信标的山羊戴上项圈,通过运行4G网络的卫星发送和接收信号。该装置包含一个电池和一个蓝牙装置,以便在GPS故障时找到设备,例如,电池从插座脱落。

农民在系统的应用程序上设置了一个数字边界,从而为山羊可以和不能漫游的地方设置了一个虚拟边界。当一只戴着项圈的山羊冒险走出指定的虚拟围栏区域时,会响起哔哔声。如果山羊离开这个区域更远,它的音量就会增加,在第三个和最大的音符之后,山羊就会受到一个小的电击。这促使山羊顺着来时的路快速地往回跑。 农民可以在他们的应用程序中完全访问,以查看哪些山羊收到了多少个声音和电击触发器,从而可以跟踪哪些山羊收到了不同数量的触发器。由于数字放牧技术代表了挪威农业的一项相当新颖的创新,该公司得到了媒体的广泛关注。

山羊被雇来当清洁助理

Søraa博士和他的同事Jostein Vik代表Ruralis和NTNU研究了这项技术是如何被引进的,以及这种方法在实践、观念和指导方针方面对现代山羊养殖意味着什么。Vik教授在Ruralis和NTNU的社会和政治学系工作。

Jostein Vik, Senior researcher (assistant position) – Dr.polit. (political science)

研究人员发现,将山羊农场作为生产牛奶和肉类的副业更容易经营。但同样重要的是,智能技术开辟了其他可能性:山羊在耕地工作中变得重要。

可以租专门清理空地的山羊。Søraa博士说,在这项技术的帮助下,例如,它可以在电线周围觅食,或者一直延伸到道路上,而不需要设置物理围栏。

传统的围栏给农民带来了大量的工作和成本,无论是在安装时还是在维护形式。另一个好处是,这项技术可以让农民跟踪山羊的活动,看看它是否被困住了或正在被追赶。

研究团队采用混合方法研究挪威农业新兴的数字和机器人技术。获得的主要数据来源是关于Nofence技术及其用户和生产者的访谈和观察。研究团队对该技术公司的3名制作人/员工以及8名活跃用户农民进行了定性半结构化开放式访谈。这些采访包括关于这项技术是如何影响和潜在地改变他们的耕作方式的问题。这些农民的背景、年龄、性别各不相同,牧群规模从12只到100多头不等。大多数采访持续几个小时,随后是去山羊牧场的观察旅行。

没有这项技术,很少有人能做牧羊人,因为他们经常不得不在附近有其他工作。图片: Dr. Roger A. Søraa, 挪威科技大学(NTNU) 

与电子山羊互动

没有这项技术,很少有人能做牧羊人,因为他们经常不得不在隔壁有其他工作。机械化和数字化使更少的人完成更多的任务是农业发展的趋势。Søraa博士说,我们选择的“电子山羊”让我们看到了自然、文化和技术之间新的相互作用。

这项技术是在挪威开发的。它在这个国家的牧羊农民中逐渐变得相当普遍。这些山羊到处走动,发出哔哔声,很多人可能都想知道它们是谁。 

午夜时分,我看到一群山羊在一个吊床底下闲逛。Søraa博士笑着说,人们想知道山羊什么时候会停止发出哔哔声,这样他们就可以睡觉了。

能够使用该系统的先决条件是,地理位置使得发送技术所需的信号成为可能。

政治与动物福利

如果这个系统在国外也能成功,那将是令人兴奋的。据开发人员称,现在有超过2.7万只动物带着Nofence (Nofence是世界上第一个家畜虚拟围栏) 器具行走,绵羊和奶牛都跟着山羊走,山羊是最早出来的动物。Søraa博士说,我们采访的农民更怀疑器具在羊身上的作用,因为羊的性情和山羊不同。

目前,Nofence也正在对绵羊和牛进行大规模测试。但养山羊的人认为,山羊比绵羊更聪明,更不容易受惊,所以看到其他动物对这项技术的反应将是令人兴奋的。

Nofence使用起来轻而易举。你可以在应用程序中创建牧场,并将其无线发送到挂在动物脖子上的项圈上。经过一段短暂的学习时间,动物们意识到,当他们听到声音时,他们必须转过身来,并将被安全地关在围栏里。你可以实时监控你的羊群,如果有任何意外发生,你会立即得到通知。

据Antonsen和Fremstad说,现在有超过2400个挪威农场在使用这项技术来放牧。有超过27000动物在佩戴Nofence项圈。并且,佩戴项圈的动物的数量在挪威增长迅速。据Nofence的官方网页显示,这个数字在2022年八月22日已增长至47,872只。有超过3200家农场成为在使用此项圈 

在继山羊之后,这项技术也被用于羊和牛的放牧。在挪威,传统的放牧方式的盈利较为低下,因此农民常常需要做第二份工作以维持生计。这一情况使发展,尝试和引用新的可持续的科技来维系传统挪威文化成为可能。这项技术可以增加人力资源的效率并确保放牧的安全性。

研究人员还研究了引入这种新技术的挑战。在其他问题中,动物福利一直备受争议,因为科技使用电力。但是现在在挪威放羊和放牛是合法的。农民对将这一装置使用在羊的身上持怀疑态度,因为羊是更容易受惊的动物。 

在技术、政策和用户友好性方面,良好的实施都很重要。Søraa博士说,发展需要政治家的参与,也需要作为使用者的农民的声音。

智能技术项目

这项研究是可持续农业智能技术项目Smart的一部分。SmaT项目的目标是在挪威农业中促进开发、应用和引进新的可持续技术。例如,可以是机器人和无人机技术、数字化、传感器技术、电气化或精准农业。

关于作者:

Roger Andre Søraa博士 (Twitter: @RogerSoraa) 是挪威科技大学(NTNU)文化跨学科研究系的副教授。他拥有科学和技术研究博士学位。他的研究侧重于自动化、机器人化和社会数字化——人类和技术之间的关系。Søraa博士对技术的社会驯化特别感兴趣,例如,他对医院机器人和家庭老年技术的研究。他还隶属于神经科学系,在那里他从事”生命机器人”项目。他曾隶属于RURALIS-挪威农业与区域研究所,在那里他研究SmaT-可持续农业的智能技术。Søraa博士发表了许多关于自动化、机器人、数字化的文章和书籍,包括与Pernille Nyvoll, Gunhild Tøndel, Eduard Fosch-Villaronga and Artur Serrano共同发表的 “The social dimension of domesticating technology: Interactions between older adults, caregivers, and robots in the home” (2021), Technological Forecasting and Social Change. Vol. 167.

标签:

#城市和村庄

#能源和环境

#控制论和机器人

#社会

#技术

#人文学院

#社会科学与教育学院

#社会与政治学系

#跨学科文化研究系

部分资料来源:

A combination of AI technology and religion? Japanese AI innovations related to Buddhism.

Author: Caijun Zhao

News released on 12th Sep 2022 stated that Kyoto University had developed augmented reality (AR) content using artificial intelligence, allowing users to interact with a “Buddha” on a smartphone. 

This is developed to help people with worries and need to listen to the teachings of Buddhism. When the user holds up a smartphone, an avatar of Buddha appears, and it can give 1000 patterns of answers to users’ worries. After “Buddha” listens to the concerns of users, “Buddha” will answer by message or voice. This combines the function of the smartphone’s camera and AI technology. Seiji Kumagai, an associate professor at Kyoto University, is the developer of this APP.  He explained the idea behind this innovation: “ we would like to provide people with healing and fun by fusing traditional knowledge and science.”

This is not the first step that robot is used in religion-related activities. As early as 2019, a robot called Mindar, modeled after Kannon Bodhisattva was unveiled to the media in Kyoto. Mindar is designed to explain Buddha’s teachings to help people better understand Buddhism’s essence. After the debut of Mindar, it has been actively preaching to troubled people and “working” in Kodaiji Temple to show how people with worries can obtain peace of mind. It is not only a robot with the resemble appearance of Kannon Bodhisattva, but also able to reveal the essence of the Buddha’s teaching in plain language to the audience. In a country where religious affiliation is declining, these are also attempting to reignite people’s passion for their faith. For now, Mindar is not AI-powered, but the developers have the plan to give it machine-learning capabilities. This shows the potential that AI robots may replace human religious leaders and change religions in the future. 

Many people worry about this change, as robots stand to change how people experience faith. These religious experiences leave room for the spontaneous, the emotional, and even the mystical. This is considered a valuable part of religion. Robots may lead to a mechanized or homogenized experience, which poses risks for challenging core tenets of theology. The acceptance of robots varies among different religions and different regions. In Japan, it seems that people who visit Mindar are not too bothered by the risks because robots are already so commonplace in Japan. In addition, Buddhism’s non-dualistic metaphysical notion that everything has inherent “Buddha nature,” which elaborates on the potential of becoming enlightened applies to everything, including robots. On the contrary, because of theological differences, westerners tend to have a more negative reaction to robots like Mindar. 

Reference:

お悩みに「AIブッダ」が回答、京都大学、AR活用 https://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXZQOUC09CC00Z00C22A9000000/

アンドロイド觀音マインダー、高台寺 https://www.kodaiji.com/mindar/

Sigal Samuel (2020). Robot priests can bless you, advise you, and even perform your funeral. VOX. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/9/9/20851753/ai-religion-robot-priest-mindar-buddhism-christianity

Master Thesis on Self-checkouts in Grocery Stores Completed

Anita Stovner has completed her Master’s Thesis in STS: Science and Technology Studies with the title AUTOMATION IN GROCERY STORES: Domestication of self-checkouts counters at NTNU, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture for the academic spring semester 2022.

(Illustration from Canva)

Focus for thesis
This dissertation explores grocery store workers’ and customers’ use of self-checkout counters. The study takes place in Trondheim, Norway, at different grocery stores, and it aims to figure out how automation has influenced the sale and service sector. The main research question in this thesis is: How can self-checkout counters in grocery stores be understood from a user perspective?

The empirical material is based on three qualitative research methods: interviews,
observations, and spontaneous focus interviews. The data material was gathered from June to October 2021. Grounded Theory has inspired the analysis of the data material, subsequently based on Science and Technology Studies (STS) approaches of domestication theory and non-users.

My analysis showcases three overlapping aspects of self-checkouts. Control is the first aspect where the management controls the grocery store workers, and the store and workers control the customers. Trust is the second aspect. The management trusts the workers to do the right thing and follow the guidelines. Additionally, the store has implemented customer precautions because more customers started to steal after introducing self-checkouts. Efficiency is the last aspect. Self-checkouts brought efficiency to the stores because of the decreased waiting time. Some customers loved the self-checkouts, while others stated that the efficiency did not impact their choice between self-checkouts and regular registers. Furthermore, the analysis made it apparent how grocery store workers and customers understand the technology differently. I thus argue that to get a fuller picture of the technology of self-checkouts, it is essential to include both a user- and non-user perspective.

Relation to future of work
In the future, self-checkouts could be more widespread, and we could see fewer people in grocery stores. This could face some resistance from customers because grocery stores are seen as a social platform for some customers. The pathway for the sale and service sector is unsure. We already see tendencies towards this.

Master Thesis on Relative’s Experience of Application-based Medical Care completed

Maria Julsen Andersen completed their Master’s Thesis in media, communication and information technology with the title “Relative’s role in a care collective characterized by distance” at NTNU, Faculty of Social and Educational Sciences, for the academic spring semester 2022.

Focus for thesis

The increasing digitalization of public and private health services is a complex consequence of societal challenges related to the capacity of healthcare systems combined with an ageing population and an example of technology development. This has consequently led to more research in the area, which has set other requirements for the treatment and follow-up of patients, where the role of relatives is proving to be more critical. In connection with this, Sykehuset Østfold (SiØ) has implemented the project Innovative Patient Process from 2018–to 2021. In the project, Nimble People, an application with a user interface adapted to patients, has been tested as a home-based follow-up service for cancer patients. Nimble People ́s central function is the reporting form, where the patient registers symptoms and self-performed measurements. In the project, the application has been used by patients to report pain and side effects according to treatment and follow-up.

The following study aims to shed light on relatives’ experience of application-based follow-up and what consequences this may have for patients’ treatment. This research question under investigation stems from previous research that shows that relatives have vital roles, primarily in physical and video follow-up, which has led to the topic being put on the social agenda. In this way, relatives and various care collectives are increasingly crucial in future care.

The study was conducted in collaboration with Sykehuset Østfold. It consists of eight qualitative in-depth interviews with the next of kin associated with the Innovative Patient Process using an interview process and guide developed concerning the relative’s vulnerable situation. These were contacted using a list of patients’ relatives maintained by the Hospital. The findings have been analyzed through a domestication analysis based on Sørensens ́ (2006) and Ask and Søras ́ (2021) domestication theories incorporating practice, cognitive, symbolic, and social dimensions. These dimensions constitute the theoretical framework in the thesis and characterize the discussion of the findings.

The findings show that application-based follow-up of cancer patients via Nimble People works for the patients themselves but not for the relatives in the study, as they feel excluded. It turns out that there exist knowledge gaps because of a lack of information from the hospital to the relatives or/and the absence of information transfer in the household. Consequently, the relatives feel little involved and less confident that the patient will receive proper treatment. For relatives’ feelings to be taken care of, they want to be involved throughout the follow-up process from start to finish, where both professional-relative interactions and relative-patient interactions are essential. The relatives can contribute insight into the patients’ self-reporting through such an interaction, leading to more accurate reports. It also turns out that several of the app’s functions can be utilized to benefit the patients’ treatment if the hospital actively includes relatives regarding patients’ use of Nimble People.

Relation to future of work


Based on the health sector being digitalized where patients and next of kin are required to take more responsibility for medical treatment, we must ensure that all influencing actors associated with the digital solution are mapped. This Master’s Thesis raises several questions related to actors connected to the technology used for medical treatment over distance. Examples of questions are; should patients’ right to ownership over their own illness be emphasized, and what happens if relatives are assigned a more active user role from the start? As an extension of these questions, the healthcare system must balance the different needs of different actors in the patients’ care network. In this way, they must consider whether patients, next of kin, or healthcare personnel’s needs are most critical for digital treatment. They must also take care of all the actors’ needs at the same time.

This thesis indicates that patients’ closest relatives and their experiences with Nimble People affect the medical treatment. In that way, the needs of this user group must be considered to facilitate the best possible patient treatment through application-based follow-up in future healthcare and following studies.

There are not a lot of research contributions on how relatives experience application-based follow-up which means that more studies should be done. This will involve investigating how other follow-up applications are used, how relatives are involved in the follow-up, and what consequences it has in connection to the patient’s treatment. It would also be interesting to do research on how developers of technology such as Nimble People inscribe use through the technology’s design.

Based on the master’s thesis findings, more research on the topic will be done by two researchers at NTNU.

Robotics4EU needs your voice!

Robotics solutions and technologies are rapidly changing society and transforming the way we live and work – with both positive improvements and unforeseen consequences.
In Robotics4EU we wish to ensure that citizens have a say when it comes to these new technologies and how they affect everyday life. Therefore, we have gathered robots which are being developed right now or have just entered the market. We have set these up in a survey style consultation.  
TAKE THE CITIZENS’ AUDIT
By answering the survey, you get the opportunity to have an influence on these robotics solutions, as your answers will be given directly to the companies behind the robots, who will use your feedback in the further development of the robots.

The solutions to give feedback are various: from a robot that gives throat swabs, to a humanoid that assists medical personnel and even a solution that aims to protect farmers’ crops. 









Don’t miss this chance to make your voice heard!  The Robotics4EU would apreciate if you could share this information with your peers.   The Robotics4EU team  

Master Thesis on the topic of Korean cafés and service robots completed

Halvard Moe Krogstad has completed their Master’s Thesis in Science & Technology Studies with the title “Efficient Robots vs. Social Beings: A sociotechnical study on Korean café-culture and novel technology in service” at NTNU, the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, for the academic spring semester 2022.

Focus for thesis

“How robots are used in South Korean cafés and why?”. In this thesis I investigate this question through a qualitative study of Korean café culture, looking at how various components play a part when change occurs in Korean cafés and the complexity of it. The thesis’ introduction presents Korea as a nation, an overview of life in Seoul, a brief history of coffee in Korea, the birth of Korea as a tech-nation, a definition of a robot, and lastly highlights this thesis’ importance and contribution to ‘untact’ and HRI-research. Methodologically, this case study draws on three primary empirical materials: (1) Fieldwork in Korea and experiencing Seoul, (2) observations of 6 cafés; 3 robot-cafés and 3 regular cafés, (3) semi-structured interviews of four Seoul-based students. The informants are presented as their own individuals in this thesis but do also represent the core café customer-group and daily life of students in Seoul. The primary empirical data is central to this thesis’ research as the process is inspired by grounded theory, an inductive methodological approach. Additionally, I utilize theoretical tools from the field of Science & Technology Studies: sociotechnical perspective, domestication, and delegation. I also borrow Breaching experiments from the Sociology field of study.

Chronologically, this thesis is structured in four analysis chapters: (1) a deep-dive into the Korean café-culture, the busy lives of students, the café as a study spot, Seoul’s density and cramped housing, and material configurations of cafés. This constitutes the local context of this thesis. (2) Presenting the sociotechnical material configurations in Seoul cafés. Analyzed by being categorized and put up against the local context, figuring out why cafés make use of novel technology. This constitutes the material context. (3) Analyzing how customers domesticate cafés using novel technologies, based on the cafés hybridity, taste of products, and the customers technical competence. (4) HRI-analysis of breaching experiments, presenting three cases of breaching in social expectations of interactions in a service setting, in addition to the concept of imagined breaching and rejection of untact technology in a service setting.

The Seoul café is adapting to the local context and students’ routines, by increasingly making use of technologies and reducing the number of human employees, resulting in some cafés becoming borderline hybrids, blurring the line between café, home, and workplace. Findings show that students, the target customer, are divided in domesticating robot-cafés, due to rejection of interacting with technology in service based on untrust and anticipatory fear of malfunction.

Relation to future of work

This thesis provides an insight into a modern shift in the Korean service sector, where cafés are observed increasingly delegating tasks formerly done by human baristas over to novel technology, automated systems, and the customer themselves. In terms of work in the future, human baristas are expected to experience a shift both in their daily work-tasks and also how they provide services. These tasks and services, observed to have already sprung up in some cafés, revolve around bridging the gap between robots / automation and the customer, e.g., assisting with making orders on machines and through applications, swooping in when technical malfunction occurs, etc. Additional jobs and tasks related to maintenance of automated services are also expected to experience a substantial increased need in the future, found today to be performed by both professional maintenance workers as well as service workers, such as baristas and fast-food workers.

Read more

You can read the full Master’s Thesis here:

https://ntnuopen.ntnu.no/ntnu-xmlui/handle/11250/3020777

Qianxi Robotics Group: From the first fully automated restaurant to the Robotic Restaurant in Winter Olympics, 2022 

Author: Caijun Zhao

In 2020, the world’s first “fully automated restaurant”, FOODOM, opened in Foshan, Guangdong province, China. “Fully automated restaurant” means that all the workloads in the restaurant, including greeting customers, taking orders, cooking and making drinks, delivering food, and cleaning up, are taken care of by robots only. There is no human staff in the restaurant. FOODOM has 46 different types of robots and can provide over 200 dishes for nearly 600 customers. The cuisines served in the restaurant range from traditional Chinese dishes to Western-style fast food. The restaurant is operated by Qianxi Robotics Group. 

Qianxi Robotics Group, an innovative comprehensive high-tech enterprise, was founded in 2019, as a wholly owned subsidiary of Country Garden. One of the main missions is to apply advanced technologies to develop the leading robotics restaurant chain brand in China, which provides a smart and clean dining environment with abundant food categories. Qianxi Robotics values research, design, and innovation. There is a 750-person research and development team behind the robot restaurants. 

There are many advantages of automated restaurants. First of all, meals are delivered by a conveyor-belt system that runs through the ceiling of the restaurant, and thus robot restaurants are more efficient in terms of space used. Secondly, the waiting time for food is much shorter than human-operated counterparts. Noodle robots can serve more than 120 bowls of noodles per hour. People only need to wait 20 seconds for their breakfast after the order and an advanced burger robot can serve a delicious burger in 20 seconds, which is nearly double the efficiency of the current fast food industry giants. Additionally, cooking robots can compete with famous chefs as the robots imitate and improve the actions of experienced human chefs through a lengthy trial-and-error process. Thus, the robot restaurant guarantees not only efficiency but also flavors. Furthermore, the standardized cooking process and the absence of human-to-human contact also guarantee hygiene and the safety of dining out during the pandemic. A restaurant without human workers could potentially reduce the risk of coronavirus infection.  

The whole system of the automated restaurants has been improving to meet the new needs of customers. After two years, Qianxi Robotics Group brought their pink-and-white restaurant and the overall intelligent Robotics solutions to the Olympics Valley in Beijing in 2022. Robots served meals for Olympic participants of the 2022 Winter Olympics. In this way, person-to-person contact was minimized and guaranteed the safety of participants. People can order food by simply scanning a QR code from a cellphone, which is more convenient than a human server. And the restaurant provided food 24 hours a day.  

On Chinese social media, Sino Weibo, the posts with the tag “Qianxi Technology” has been read as high as 200 million times, showing Chinese people’s passion for new technological solutions. The Robotics industry in China witnessed a boom at Beijing Winter Olympics. Various robots were made to provide hi-tech services for Olympics game participants, for example, hotel check-in, food delivery, translation and security inspection, and so on. At the same time, pandemic control is one of the most important tasks. Robotics technology played an essential role in meeting various needs while smoothing the operation of the events.  

Reference: 

Davis, K. (2020, Jul 1). Welcome to Chinas latest  robot restaurant. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/china-robots-ai-restaurant-hospitality/ 

Foodom is Chinas First Fully Automated Robot Restaurant. (2020, Jan 14). The Yellrobot. https://yellrobot.com/foodom-china-fully-automated-robot-restaurant/ 

Liu Y. (2022, Mar 6). Chinas robotics industry witnesses a boom at Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Global Times. https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202203/1254051.shtml?id=11 

Winter Olympics black technology, European and American athletes are eye-opening, admitting that they have been deceived by Western media for many years. (2022, Sep 12). iMeida. https://min.news/en/sport/323bcee9b8b34531963014ea1ad7ec58.html 

Automatic solutions in Salmon aquaculture: From automatic feeding to the autonomous feeding system

Author: Caijun Zhao

Recent advances in automated inspection, artificial intelligence, and robotics are transforming the aquaculture production industry. The fish industry has been labor-intensive. While the largest aquaculture sites are usually located in remote or scarcely populated areas. Besides, repetitive and difficult work is another reason recruiting people becomes difficult (Einarsdottir et al., 2022). Additionally, overfeeding poses significantly negative impacts on the environment, which in turn may cause huge economic losses for the industry. Given the reasons mentioned above, great focus has been placed on automatic solutions. Among all the different modern data processing techniques used in aquaculture, automatic feeding technologies have been one of the most critical technologies that contributed to the success of the industry and mitigation of the negative impacts on the environment to some extent.  

The concept of automatic feeding in aquaculture was developed in Norway in the early 1980s. 

Many pieces of research confirm that automation increases the fingerlings’ growth of fish and feed conversion efficiency. Also, automatic solutions make the size control of fish possible by monitoring the social hierarchy in a group and the daily energy consumption in varying conditions (Ruohonen, 1986). Size variations pose a significant challenge in fish processing. Today’s feeding system is much more advanced in distributing feeds and having greater control over feeding. This is realized by adopting the auger screw-based system in which the thrust of the auger is the key to achieving the precise amount.  The professional can access the feeding parameter and manage feeding plans tailored to the fish farmers. The software integrates the feeding task with mobile devices, which enables workers to feed fish remotely (Fish Farm Feeder, 2020).  

Picture: Fish Farm Feeder, 2020. 

In addition, based on the fieldwork I conducted in the salmon aquaculture sites of Lerøy Seafood Group, located in Frøya, Norway, the workers in Frøya do not need to feed salmon. Instead, the feeding task is completed by someone sitting in another city’s office. This is because all the fish cages are installed in the monitoring systems underwater, and this person can remotely monitor the size of the fish. The CageEye system combines biological can environmental data through hydroacoustic sensors. In this way, the system can gather data to analyze fish behavior and appetite, making continuous real-time decisions and adjustments based on the original feeding plan (The Fish Site, 2020). Combing with the feeding plans provided by professionals, it is possible to operate aquaculture farms with the lower environmental impacts caused by overfeeding.  

Picture: Bendik Søvegjarto, CEO of CageEye. 

Reference: 

K. Ruohonen,. (1986). Biological Models Related to Automatic Control in Aquaculture. A Case Study: Automatic Feeding Control. Automation and Data Processing in Aquaculture, Trondheim, Norway.  

Einarsdottir, H., Guðmundsson, B. and Ómarsson, V. (2022). Automation in the fish industry. Animal Frontiers, Volume 12, Issue 2, Page 32-39, https://doi.org/10.1093/af/vfac020

Fish Farm Feeder. (2020). Feeding Systems for Fish Farms and RAS Fish Farming. https://www.fishfarmfeeder.com/en/blog/components-automatic-aquaculture-feeding-systems/ 

The Fish Site. (2020). Autonomous aquaculture feeding system unveiled. https://thefishsite.com/articles/autonomous-aquaculture-feeding-system-unveiled