Raphael Favier

Describe yourself: Who you are and what you're doing?
I am Raphael Favier, a 28 years old software designer. I work as a researcher in the Technical University of Eindhoven, on autonomous photo-realistic 3D reconstruction using robots.
I am French and I work and live in the Netherlands for 4 years now.
In my free time, I get involved as a volunteer in the @home robotic team of the university (TechUnited).

How did your interest in robots / robotics start?
I've always been fascinated by science in general. I found robots in movies quite cool, that might explain the initial interest.

Now, I like them for two mainly things:
a) Robotics are a fascinating mix of different knowledge (Mechanics, Electronics, Software, AI...). Working with robots, I constantly get in touch with different branches of engineering, and even domains not directly related to technology like Psychology.

b) Robots are a wonderful tool to apprehend the complexity of the human brain. When you try to reproduce cognitive functionalities we take for granted (like recognizing an object), you soon realize how powerful and unknown the mass you have between your two ears is. How challenging it is to reproduce these functionalities.
The book: "Artificial Intelligence, A modern approach" is a bible that sat on my bed table for months and was an amazing wonderful introduction to the challenge of creating intelligent machines and I'd recommend it to anyone with an interest in making 'clever' machines.


What kind of actions needs to be done in the community to increase the interest and the awareness of robots / robotics?
I think robots are pretty easy to communicate to the public. We see more and more news about them and they do seem to attract people's interest. But what can we do to make them enter our world as soon as possible?

In my opinion, it is important to create future generations of talented roboticists. I've been amazed by the number of children (girls and boys) participating in the German RoboCup this year, and the complexity of some of their Lego robots.
Aged 12, these kids deal with challenges that I was introduced to in high school. It seems to me that Germans understood how to bring kids to robotics and will harvest future generations of talents.
In that extent, it is important that more and more specialized education programs for robotics emerge. Most of the roboticists I know come either from Software or Mechanics, too few (including me) were educated in both disciplines during their university education.

I think it is now time to trigger worldwide collaboration between labs to make the robotic revolution happen. In that respect, I take the initiatives coming from Willow Garage in high regards: ROS literally connected thousands of robotic researchers in the last 3 years and enabled real robotic software reuse (at last)!
The recent release of truly affordable open robotic platforms (turtlebot, billybot...), aimed at education and hobbyists, is a big news for the robotic community who will eventually benefit from the work of hundreds of extra people.
To help with this effort, a colleague and I recently opened turtlebot.eu, a web store dedicated to provide the European robotic community with cheap reliable open-source platforms.

Link:
TurtleBot.eu

Read more:
RoboCup & Tech United Eindhoven
Robin Soetens

[source: Vive Les Robots!]

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Ralph Favier

Raphael Favier is a 28 years old software designer from France. He works as a researcher at the Technical University of Eindhoven, on making autonomous photo-realistic 3D reconstructions by the use of robots.

Ralph Favier 2

"I think it is now time to trigger worldwide collaboration between labs to make the robotic revolution happen. ...The recent release of truly affordable open robotic platforms, aimed at education and hobbyists, is a big news for the robotic community who will eventually benefit from the work of hundreds of extra people.
To help with this effort, a colleague and I recently opened turtlebot.eu, a web store dedicated to provide the European robotic community with cheap reliable open-source platforms".

 

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