The Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction (MRAC) programme offers innovative approaches to robotics, integrating cutting-edge technology with creative applications. As part of this initiative, the “Personable Robotics” workshop, led by Dr. Madeline Gannon, explored new models of human-robot companionship.

After decades of development, robots are moving from labs to our daily lives, raising questions about how we can live with these intelligent machines. This one-week workshop combined lectures, hands-on learning, and mentorship to teach students how to bring robots to life. Key questions included: What makes a robot a good roommate? How can a robot improve our experience of an environment? How can we take better care of our robots? How can we connect with autonomous machines instead of just controlling them?

Students used IAAC’s ABB IRB 6700 robots and Dr. Gannon’s advanced simulation tools for real-time control. They worked in familiar software environments like Rhino/Grasshopper, Processing, TouchDesigner, Blender, Unity, Unreal Engine, Python, or C++. In small teams, participants created interactive installations that balanced technical skill with creative expression. These projects, meant to be quick and simple, were presented in live demonstrations and short video presentations. Take a look at the projects here.

Learning objectives included safety protocols for real-time robotic operations, workflows for real-time control, understanding the capabilities and limitations of robots, designing interactive interfaces, and professional tips for creating impressive robotic installations.

About Madeline Gannon

Dr. Madeline Gannon is a multidisciplinary designer inventing better ways to communicate with machines. Her research studio, ATONATON, blends art and technology to forge new futures for human-robot relations. She strives to bring her work to diverse audiences by exhibiting at international cultural institutions, publishing at academic conferences, and through profiles and interviews with global media outlets, such as the BBC, the Guardian, the FT, BBC, WIRED, FastCompany, Dezeen, and The Verge. Gannon holds a Ph.D. in Computational Design from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master’s of Architecture from Florida International University. She is a World Economic Forum Cultural Leader, and is a Research Fellow at the Carnegie Mellon Studio for Creative Inquiry and the Robotics Fabrication Lab at Florida International University.

About the Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction

The Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction seeks to train a new generation of interdisciplinary professionals, capable of facing our growing need for a more sustainable and optimized construction eco-system. The Master is focused on the emerging design and market opportunities arising from novel robotic and advanced manufacturing systems.


Last chance to apply to the Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction!