CORVALLIS, Ore. – Robots will increasingly rub shoulders with people at home and in the work place,so machines need social attributes: humor, personality and body language.

At the Corvallis Science Pub on January 8, Heather Knight will discuss her work on interactions between humans and robots. Science Pub begins at 6 p.m. in the Old World Deli, 341 2nd St. in Corvallis and is free and open to the public.

“Machines that fail to interact appropriately with people run the risk of becoming irritating and unwelcome,” says Knight, an assistant professor of computer science at Oregon State University. “However, when personality and charm are added, functional machines can not only empower people, they can engage, inspire, improve performance and foster bonds with their human partners.”

Knight has worked at NASA and the MIT Media Lab where she designed a sensate skin for a teddy bear. She explores the ways psychology, expressive emotion, behavior system design and art influence the positive evolution of charismatic technology.

Podcasts of previous Corvallis Science Pub events on topics such as the roadside geology of Oregon and the bond between people and dogs are available at

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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Story By: 

Nick Houtman, 541-737-0783


Heather Knight,, 541-737-2165