ICRA2024 Workshop:
Workshop on
'Society of Avatar-Symbiosis through Social Field Experiments'

2024 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), Yokohama, Japan

Duration and Date

Duration: Full-day
Date: May 13, 2024


Masahiro Shiomi (ATR, Japan)
Takahiro Miyashita (ATR, Japan)
Filippo Cavallo (UNIFI, Italy)


This workshop aims to envision a future society in which individuals can actively engage with the world through the use of cybernetic avatars, all can play an active role in Avatar-Symbiotic Society. In workshop, Cybernetic avatars, referred to as CAs, semi-autonomous tele-operated robots and CG agents. CAs are expected to offer humans a myriad of virtual and physical services to free us from limitations of body, brain, space, and time in order to perform active social roles without constraint. The goal of the field of CAs’ study is to develop and implement avatar-symbiosis within a harmonious future society. By promoting coexistence between humans and CAs, our goal is to create a more inclusive society where all individuals, including those facing challenges such as the physical, cognitive, perceptual even gender domains, could be able to maximize their participation. During the workshop, we will introduce Moonshot Avatar Symbiotic Society Project and human-centered, long-term R&D initiatives from around the world, showcasing advancements in related technologies, as well as sharing insights from various social field experimentations. The discussion of the workshop will lead us to adapt and adjust to a future ‘Cybernetic Avatar Life.’


Format of the workshop

The contents of the proposed workshop are as follows. Currently, we are considering using Zoom as a tool to facilitate online participation in the talk sessions, but we will select the tool according to the management policy of ICRA 2024.

The talk session will be divided into the following three sessions:

  1.  Projects related to Avatar Symbiotic Society
  2.  Technologies for Avatar Symbiotic Society, and
  3.  Field Trials in Real Field with CAs

In each session, researchers from leading universities and companies in their fields will first make presentations as Keynotes, followed by Short Talks that introduce related research content and research trends. Each session consists of 1 Keynote and 1~2 Short talks. Keynote is scheduled for 40 minutes, including a presentation and Q&A, and Short Talk is scheduled for 20 minutes, including a presentation and Q&A. Details are given in the tentative schedule in the next section.

The poster session will be provided as a place where young researchers and university students can casually present related advanced research. The poster session will be exhibited at the venue so that participants can discuss face-to-face. The call for poster presentations will be made on the website and by mailing lists related to the topics of the workshop.

A 10-minute wrap-up session will be held at the end of the workshop as a place where young researchers and senior researchers can discuss freely. Here, we will wrap up the contents of the talk sessions and the poster sessions, and ask offline/online participants of young and senior researchers to present their opinions and discuss them. Finally, we will find the conclusion of this workshop about what direction the avatar-symbiotic society is going to face.

Tentative schedule

Session #1 (9:10-10:30)
Session Title: Projects related to Avatar-Symbiotic Society
Session Chair: Takahiro Miyashita (ATR, Japan)

  • Keynote 1-1 (40 min):
    Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro (Osaka Univ., Japan)
    Title:  Avatar and the future society 
  • Keynote 1-2 (40 min):
    Prof. Filippo Cavallo  (University of Florence, Italy)
    Title:  On the use of robotic technologies in Active and Healthy Ageing: lessons learnt and challenges

Coffee Break (10:30-11:30)

Poster session (11:30-12:30)
Session Title: Poster session
Session Chair: Masahiro Shiomi (ATR, Japan)

  •  minutes * 10 lighting talks
  • 40 minutes poster presentation

Lunch Time (12:30-14:00)

Session #2 (14:00-15:20)
Session Title: Technologies for Avatar Symbiotic Society
Session Chair: Filippo Cavallo (University of Florence, Italy)

  • Keynote 2 (40 min):   
    Prof. Jee-hwan Ryu (KAIST, Korea)
    Title:  Toward Tightly Coupled Kinesthetics with Robotic Avatars
  • Short talk 2-1 (20 min):
    Prof. Tatsuya Harada (The University of Tokyo, Japan)
    Title: Understanding 4D world for Cybernetic Avatars
  • Short talk 2-2 (20 min):
    Prof. Tatsuya Kawahara (Kyoto University, Japan)
    Title: Speech Technologies for Avatar Symbiotic Society

Coffee Break (15:20-16:15)

Session #3 (16:30-17:50)
Session Title: Field Trials in Real Fields with CAs
Session Chair: Masahiro Shiomi (ATR, Japan)

  • Keynote 3 (40 min):
    Prof. Hirokazu Kumazaki (Nagasaki Univ., Japan)
    Title: Potentiality of robotic intervention for individuals with psychiatric patients
  • Short talk 3-1 (20 min):
    Dr. Jun Baba (Cyberagent, Inc., Japan)
    Title: Exploring the Frontiers of Service: Integrating Cybernetic Avatars in Field Studies
  • Short talk 3-2 (20 min):
    Ms. Yukiko Horikawa (ATR, Japan)
    Title: Avatar Festival: A Tele-Operation Experiment with 100 Cybernetic Avatars
  • Short talk 3-3 (20 min):
    Prof. Praminda Caleb-Solly (University of Nottingham, UK)
    Title: Opening new vistas - Telepresence robotics to enable social connectedness and cultural engagement

Wrap up (17:55-18:00)

List of Speakers

  1. Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro (confirmed)
    Professor, Osaka University, Japan
  2. Prof. Filippo Cavallo (confirmed)
    Associate Professor, University of Florence, Italy
  3. Prof. Jee-hwan Ryu
    Professor, KAIST, Korea
  4. Prof. Tatsuya Harada (confirmed)
    Professor, Tokyo University, Japan
  5. Prof. Tatsuya Kawahara (confirmed)
    Professor, Kyoto University, Japan
  6. Prof. Hirokazu Kumazaki (confirmed)         
    Professor, Nagasaki University, Japan
  7. Dr. Jun Baba (confirmed)         
    Chief research scientist, CyberAgent, Inc.
  8. Ms. Yukiko Horikawa (confirmed)
    Research Engineer, ATR, Japan
  9. Prof. Praminda Caleb-Solly (confirmed)
    Professor, University of Nottingham, UK

Alignment with the ICRA 2024 "CONNECT+

 "CONNECT+," the theme of ICRA 2024, which aims to help building relationships and potential collaboration with participants within and outside our field of study.  In the context of the Avatar-Symbiotic Society discussed in this workshop, the goal is to enable new forms of social participation by using cybernetic avatars to support comfortable connections between "individuals" and between "individuals and society," thereby allowing for positive engagement in a future society. Furthermore, this workshop will facilitate discussions through social field experiments, encouraging participation not only from researchers but also from individuals in positions within businesses and the general public. This aligns perfectly match with the theme of ICRA 2024.

 The workshop has a structure including case studies for social filed experiments. The topics of the workshop include as follows:

  • Cybernetic Avatars technologies,
  • Tele-operated robots and CG agents as avatars,
  • Field trials in real environments with CAs,
  • Biological investigation for avatar users,
  • Learning methods to model context, behaviors and intentions, emotions and mental states,
  • Continuum between Virtual and Physical Locations,
  • Haptics and Interaction between physical and virtual objects,
  • Planning life and Handling Contingencies with CAs,
  • Multiagent systems research for CAs,
  • Conversational AI,
  • Transparency and Trust in the CAs' society, and
  • Ethics issues

 Each topic matches the purpose of the conference, ICRA 2024, however, we are eager to mainly discuss and try to find out the ideal way of the Avatar-Symbiotic Society through the topics.

Additional information

 In Japan, the Moonshot Research and Development Program was launched in January 2020 by the cabinet office to promote high-risk, high-impact R&D that can achieve ambitious goals and solve such issues facing future society as the super-aging population [1]. Moonshot #1 goal is “Realization of a society in which human beings can be free from limitations of body, brain, space, and time by 2050” [2]. This proposed workshop is related to Avatar-Symbiotic Society Project to achieve the Moonshot #1 goal, which is managed by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University [3].

 The purpose of this workshop is to introduce the relevant research activities related to Avatar Symbiotic Society to the various participants. First, it will provide feedback on the effectiveness of cybernetic avatars (CAs) and their societal acceptance, procured from social field experiments, to inform the R&D of various projects. This feedback will ensure that R&D outcomes are directed towards facilitating human social participation not only focusing on technological advancements, leading to more suitable directions. Second, by introducing the findings of the social field experiments to the general public, individuals who have previously faced challenges in social participation will have the opportunity to learn about new methods of engagement. This workshop will serve as an ignition for individuals to envision the kind of future society they desire, alongside researchers, fostering discussions and collaborations. All accumulated information and active discussion at the site will surely lead to the goal of this project.

  1.  The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), “Moonshot Research and Development Program,” https://www.jst.go.jp/moonshot/en/about.html, last accessed 2023/09/12.
  2.  The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), “Moonshot Goal 1,” https://www.jst.go.jp/moonshot/en/program/goal1/index.html, last accessed 2023/09/12.
  3.  Avatar-Symbiotic Society, “The Realization of an Avatar-Symbiotic Society where Everyone can Perform Active Roles without Constraint,” https://avatar-ss.org/en/index.html, last accessed 2023/09/12.