Developing social robots
Research and industry partnerships with impact attracted robotics engineer Sammy Pfeiffer to study a PhD at UTS.
Doctor of Philosophy
“A robot and the environment it’s going to work in is very important,” says the Doctor of Philosophy student on social robots. “There’s things to take into account: how it talks, what it says, how it moves.”
At UTS Unleashed!, Sammy advises on problem solving, provides access to software that makes Pepper smarter and creates custom programming tools. “There’s a lot of variables for the robot’s systems, and I encapsulated all of them into a set to make things easier and more productive.” Teamwork and team management, the topics of his thesis in the works, are essential for success.
Before UTS, Sammy had competed at RoboCup during university studies in his home town of Barcelona. It led to a career at robot developer PAL Robotics, which brought him to Sydney to give presentations and training. After meeting UTS Distinguished Professor and Magic Lab director Mary-Anne Williams at a function, he considered pursuing a PhD in Sydney.
The Magic Lab is unique, Sammy observes. Research at many robotics labs around the world aren’t oriented to what the enterprise world is doing, and partnership opportunities to create impact are scarce. “The Magic Lab has a lot more freedom to connect with industry,” he says. Working there also taught him a better method for problem solving.
I was introduced to design thinking here. It’s a great tool and makes things so much fun; I never experienced it at other universities or my previous workplace. It’s a learning I’ll take with me forever.