Dr. Duffy's research aims to develop an amicable anthropomorphic socially capable robot embodied in the Media Lab Europe's office environment. This robot integrates such real-world technologies as mobile robotics, social interaction, and smart buildings in a robust integrated whole. The robot is designed to be expressive, communicative, social and interact with people and the physical environment (via ubiquitous computing techniques).
This seeks to research the fine line between observed and designed behaviour and form. Anthropomorphism in robotics becomes an important issue when social interaction with people is an objective. Here the issue of what a physical robot could be good at influences its function and form. This seeks to develop from existing research on the Social Robotics by embracing the field of human machine interaction through the implementation those social features conducive to rich social functaionality between robots and people. It is an exploration of the illusion of life and intelligence in artificial entities.
Brian's interest in designing and building social humanoid robots has developed from previous research at the Department of Computer Science at University College Dublin where he completed a doctoral thesis entitled "The Social Robot."
Prior to this, Brian spent two years in artificial intelligence research and building robot prototypes at The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft's Institute for Autonomous intelligent Systems. Before moving to Germany in 1994, two years were spent at Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon in France working in the field of Distributed Artificial Intelligence and Multi-Agent Systems.
Brian also holds a Masters of Engineering Science Degree from University College Dublin, Ireland and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from Trinity College Dublin (undertaken at Bolton St. C.O.T.).