Socially Assistive Robotics: Creating Robots That Care // Dr. Maja Matarić, USC

Date: 

Friday, March 3, 2017, 12:30pm to 2:00pm

See also: Seminar

Location: 

Harvard SEAS, Maxwell Dworkin G115, 33 Oxford Street, Cambridge MA 02138

Annual Dean's Lecture on Computational Science and Engineering.

Abstract: Socially assistive robotics (SAR) is a new field of intelligent robotics that focuses on developing machines capable of assisting users through social rather than physical interaction. The robot’s physical embodiment is at the heart of SAR’s effectiveness, as it hinges on the inherently human tendency to engage with lifelike (but not necessarily human-like or otherwise biomimetic) agents. People readily ascribe intention, personality, and emotion to robots; SAR leverages this engagement stemming from non-contact social interaction involving speech, gesture, movement demonstration and imitation, and encouragement, to develop robots capable of monitoring, motivating, and sustaining user activities and improving human learning, training, performance and health outcomes. Human-robot interaction (HRI) for SAR is a growing multifaceted research area at the intersection of engineering, health sciences, neuroscience, social, and cognitive sciences.  This talk will describe our research into embodiment, modeling and steering social dynamics, and long-term user adaptation for SAR. The research will be grounded in projects involving analysis of multi-modal activity data, modeling personality and engagement, formalizing social use of space and non-verbal communication, and personalizing the interaction with the user over a period of months, among others. The presented methods and algorithms will be validated on implemented SAR systems evaluated by human subject cohorts from a variety of user populations, including stroke patients, children with autism spectrum disorder, and elderly with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. 

Lunch will be served from 12:30-1pm, on a first-come, first-served basis. The talk will begin promptly at 1pm.

Presenter Bio: Maja Matarić is professor and Chan Soon-Shiong chair in Computer Science Department, Neuroscience Program, and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Southern California, founding director of the USC Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center (RASC), co-director of the USC Robotics Research Lab and Vice Dean for Research in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. She received her PhD in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from MIT in 1994, MS in Computer Science from MIT in 1990, and BS in Computer Science from the University of Kansas in 1987.  More info.

Free and open to the public; no registration required.