Would you trust a robot with your life?
Trusting robots to relay a medical diagnosis was the focus of University of Queensland PhD student Teegan Green’s winning UQ Three Minute Thesis (3MT) presentation at Customs House.
As the winner of this year’s UQ 3MT Final, Ms Green from the UQ Business School will go through to the 3MT Trans-Tasman competition at UQ on Oct. 2, 2015.
In a tightly fought contest, Ms Green edged out the runner-up and People’s Choice winner Shaun Chen from the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, who spoke about his research investigating ways to help international students in engineering.
Ms Green’s research focuses on telehealth, and why the use of common technologies such as phone, video conferencing and email is still an uncommon medium to deliver a clinical diagnosis.
“This is surprising because of the benefits that exist for patients, particularly those that are living in rural and remote areas,” Ms Green said.
“We need to develop more efficient, effective and scalable ways to decrease the tyranny of distance that exists for rural and remote patients, and better cater to our ageing population.”
Ms Green said her research showed that one of the key issues is trust.
“Trust is crucial to how we communicate,” said Ms Green. “Non-verbal communication makes up most of our communication in terms of facial expressions and body gestures.”
Ms Green says the challenge is the difficulty to incorporate into technology these non-verbal cues that facilitate trust.
“If we can already remove the doctor from the room, and from the same time zone, what happens when eventually we can remove the doctor altogether,” she said.
“I would like to thank my supervisors, Dr Nicole Gillespie and Dr Nicole Hartley from the UQ Business School, and Associate Professor Anthony Smith.”
3MT is a competition that challenges research students to communicate the significance of their projects to a general audience in just three minutes.
The concept sprang from the UQ Graduate School in 2008, and competitions are now run in over 200 institutions internationally.
The event was hosted by the ABC’s Steve Cannane and the judging panel included Queensland Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett.
As the winner of the 3MT UQ Final, Ms Green was awarded a $5000 travel grant and will challenge competitors from more than 45 universities across the Asia-Pacific in the Trans-Tasman 3MT Final at UQ.
UQ Graduate School Dean Professor McEwan said the 3MT competition was an opportunity to showcase the outstanding contribution that UQ research students make to their fields, as part of their training.
“Research students at UQ develop sophisticated research skills and can provide amazing insight,” Professor McEwan said.
“3MT highlights the value of research students being able to communicate their work to a variety of audiences, from government to industry, and to the people who will benefit from their research.
“These communication skills are vital for the development of a knowledge economy.
“Communication can speed the translation of great research and outstanding outcomes for society and business.”