Talking to robots

Is there a more natural way of interacting with technology that could benefit businesses? UJ’s Devakshan Naicker thinks so.

22 March 2022

As a child, Devakshan Naicker liked to take things apart to figure out how they worked. This, along with sci-fi movies like I, Robot and Lost in Space, are what sparked his interest in engineering and saw him enrolling at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) for his undergraduate degree. Now a Master’s student, Naicker’s research at UJ is in the field of AI and robotics and, more specifically, developing alternative control for robots.

“I’m trying to figure out what methods we can use to control these robots in a more natural way. So as a human, we would interact with another human either by talking or using hand gestures or even body language,” explains Naicker. “No matter where in the world you are, a thumbs-up usually means the same thing. It’s universal, you don’t need to be brought up in a specific way to understand this.”

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