New research centre launch (Issue 6, 2009)

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La Trobe students in the computer science lab

La Trobe scientists establish collaboration with Kyoto University's Graduate School of Informatics.

On 17 March La Trobe University launched the Research Centre for Computers, Communication and Social Innovation (RECCSI), which will function as an Australian-based resource centre linking Melbourne scientists with scientists in Japan. The aim of this collaboration is the development of emotionally intelligent Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for computers in the field of health care, human resource management, cross-cultural communication, tourism, and robotics.

The first project the RECCSI will be working on is an emotionally intelligent health care robot, with the capacity to recognise and respond to human emotions. The robot will evaluate the emotional state of patients admitted for surgery in hospitals and health care clinics. It will also assist carers of children with mental health or development disorders. Health care is only the first of many potential applications of this new technology.

'The idea is to facilitate the well-being and sustainability of human society by improving the quality of life at work and in various lifestyle situations' says Dr Rajiv Khosla, Associate Professor at La Trobe's Graduate School of Management.

The Melbourne facility will have an interactive video link to Japan, which will give the researchers 24-hour access to the lab at Kyoto University's Graduate School of Informatics. This collaboration will also facilitate three to six-month research internships at Kyoto University in Japan for postgraduate students at RECCSI.