Carme Torras

Carme Torras, a leading researcher in robotics and artificial intelligence, is Research Professor at the Institut de Robòtica i Informàtica Industrial (CSIC-UPC) in Barcelona and editor of IEEE Transactions on Robotics. A member of the Catalan Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy, she is the author of four novels.

  • The Vestigial Heart

    The Vestigial Heart

    A Novel of the Robot Age

    Carme Torras

    A thirteen-year-old girl wakes up in a future where human emotions are extinct and people rely on personal-assistant robots to navigate daily life.

    Imagine a future in which many human emotions are extinct, and “emotional masseuses” try to help people recover those lost sensations. Individuals rely on personal-assistant robots to navigate daily life. Students are taught not to think but to employ search programs. Companies protect their intellectual property by erasing the memory of their employees. And then imagine what it would feel like to be a sweet, smart thirteen-year-old girl from the twenty-first century who wakes from a cryogenically induced sleep into this strange world. This is the compelling story told by Carme Torras in this prize-winning science fiction novel. We meet Celia, brought back to life when a cure is found for her formerly terminal disease, and Lu, Celia's adoptive mother, protective but mystified by her new daughter. There is Leo, a bioengineer, who is developing a “creativity prosthesis” to augment humans' atrophied capacities, and the eccentric robotics mogul Dr. Craft. And there is Silvana, an emotional masseuse who reads old books to research the power of emotion. Silvana sees Celia as a living, breathing example of the emotions and feelings that are now out of reach for most people.

    Torras, a prominent roboticist, weaves provocative ethical issues into her story. What kind of robots do we want when robot companions become as common as personal computers are now? Is it the responsibility of researchers to design robots that make the human mind evolve in a certain way? An appendix provides readers with a list of ethics questions raised by the book.

Contributor

  • Robotics

    Robotics

    Science and Systems VI

    Yoky Matsuoka, Hugh Durrant-Whyte, and José Neira

    Papers from a flagship robotics conference that cover topics ranging from kinematics to human-robot interaction and robot perception.

    Robotics: Science and Systems VI spans a wide spectrum of robotics, bringing together researchers working on the foundations of robotics, robotics applications, and the analysis of robotics systems. This volume presents the proceedings of the sixth Robotics: Science and Systems conference, held in 2010 at the University of Zaragoza, Spain. The papers presented cover a wide range of topics in robotics, spanning mechanisms, kinematics, dynamics and control, human-robot interaction and human-centered systems, distributed systems, mobile systems and mobility, manipulation, field robotics, medical robotics, biological robotics, robot perception, and estimation and learning in robotic systems. The conference and its proceedings reflect not only the tremendous growth of robotics as a discipline but also the desire in the robotics community for a flagship event at which the best of the research in the field can be presented.