After 18 years as director of KingEclient, the company he founded in 2000, José Luis Infiesta is launching a new venture as founder and director of YASYT Robotics.
How are you José Luis? We would love to know how it all began…
When did you first come into contact with the world of social robotics?
The truth is that I have always been fascinated by robots, but it was at the Mobile World Congress 2017 that I first had the opportunity to meet Pepper and decided to get involved. I said “Hello Pepper” and it lifted up its head and looked at me. Then I said “Follow me” and it started to follow me. I was immediately won over by its charm.
A humanoid interface that is endowed with artificial intelligence and can move, look at you, speak, and listen clearly offers a vast range of potential opportunities. The challenge is to identify the applications that provide high added value and that can actually be produced. The good news is that time is on our side.
Why did you choose to work with Pepper?
We love its wonderful empathy. People are attracted to its shape, movements, eyes, and design, and want to talk to it. Our partnership with Softbank provides us with security and offers enormous potential.
We see that YASYT Robotics is based on 4 values. We would love to gain a deeper understanding of those values. Can you explain your vision of those four aspects?
Honesty: There is a lot of talk in the world of robotics and people make a lot of promises. Our intention is always to tell the truth. We will not be dishonest. We will share both successes and failures, because we need healthcare professionals to provide us with guidanc
Rigor: we are passionate about professional, well-executed work and can’t abide to see things botched. For this reason we are working together with the Universidad de La Salle. We enjoy research and we take and innovative, scientific, and scholarly approach.
Pioneering spirit: we love adventure and we are conscious that there is still a long way to go and much to discover. We don’t know exactly where we will get to or which route we will use to get there, but we’re going to move forward. We are not afraid of investing, studying, acting, testing, and sometimes getting things wrong.
Results: we are practical and not theoretical. Our aim is to obtain results which provide value and are useful to the world of healthcare. We love to set objectives, act, measure, and analyze. We know how to set intermediate goals in order to monitor our progress.
We know that you are going to be working in close collaboration with the La Salle University. This will contribute considerable scientific rigor, won’t it?
Precisely. If we really want to achieve worthwhile results, we have to adopt a highly scientific and academic approach. If the results turn out to be satisfactory, we can move on to the development stage fully confident of reaching the objectives set.
Why did you choose to focus on healthcare? How is the idea of social robotics received when you speak to hospital, healthcare or social bodies?
We are learning a great deal from them. They are professionals with considerable knowledge and wide experience of protocols covering the relationship with patients and their families. The general public is unaware of these procedures, but they are essential.
For example, a group of nurses is currently carrying out an in-depth study into children’s levels of anxiety when faced by certain situations in hospital.
This is where we may be able to come in, by exploring how a robot could reduce anxiety levels in hundreds of different situations.
As you can understand, it’s not so much a question of being accepted as a feeling of becoming part of a team.
The aim of this blog and the desire of the Pepper community is to inform bodies and professionals of the achievements and challenges you encounter in the research process. Is this a way of sharing the pioneering spirit of the group?
Yes, that is the idea. We can’t do any of what I have mentioned before without the involvement of hospitals and professionals. We need them. We know this is our venture, but we wish to share it with them.
It is as if we were climbing Everest and every day at 6 ‘0’ clock we connect via Skype to tell everybody what we are doing, explaining our successes and failures, and, above all, receiving the support of those who are following us.
And is the healthcare sector reacting positively?
There is great interest in the subject from numerous perspectives, including innovation, patient care, ethics, and social aspects, etc.
Our reception by the sector has been superb. I feel particularly grateful to the Social and Healthcare Consortium who have supported us right from the beginning. They have transmitted a wide range of different sentiments. On the one hand, they are extremely keen to progress and to innovate. On the other hand, there is tremendous sensitivity to the need to provide patients with high quality, humane service. And they have been particularly supportive of our ideas.
You can just imagine how their marvelous response has boosted our commitment.
Thanks for sharing your vision and that of YASYT Robotics. We look forward to following your progress on this blog!