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Social robotics: Integrating advances in engineering and computer science

With the rapid advancement of technology, robots could now be easily equipped with the state of art computing, electronics and communications technologies, with the potential to act as intelligent companions and with important applications in the education, entertainment, games and healthcare industries. The integration of all these technologies is the first step to realizing social robots – robots which will walk amongst humans, playing out their assigned roles whilst interacting with humans in a humanistic way. Social robots can have definite roles and tasks, such as educators, cleaners or guides, with a profound impact on human daily life. This advanced class of robots, just as we humans do, is made up of a complex array of interconnected modules – electronics (inner physical workings), sensing, planning and cognition, and finally, intelligence, interaction and communications. This paper provides an overview of each of these individual aspects, and how advanced technology in these areas can be integrated to form a social robot that can meld seamlessly into the human society.