Project Description

The work described below is affiliated with the R-House Human-Robot Interaction Lab (, which is a collaborative research group and space that brings together faculty, research staff, and students who study human-robot interaction (HRI). HRI is a field that explores how people perceive, respond to, and interact with robots, and how to better design robots so they can be used in everyday contexts, such as the home, work, education, or healthcare. If you are interested in such topics, we invite you to join us in our studies. Our main research project is centered around the use of robotic telepresence in the classroom context. Robotic telepresence has the potential of alleviating the problem of isolation for students with disabilities, attenuating the limitation of inaccessibility, and creating a safe school environment. Telepresence robots may allow for a richer interaction than technologies such as video conferencing as students can independently maneuver telepresence robots and can interact with those present in the classroom. This work considers potential sources of friction for design and use of telepresence robots in higher education contexts. For example, telepresence robots are generally controlled by the human operator with limited or no possibility for those in proximity to provide input, thus it may be difficult for the human operator to respond to context. The robots may also introduce new types of concerns related to identity, courtesy, and privacy. We will study the opportunities that telepresence robots afford, their limitations and design solutions

Technology or Computational Component

Our research investigates the connection between robots, as embodied computing technologies, and people. While working on the project, students will become familiar with interactive robotic technologies, study how different aspects of robot design affect people's perceptions of and reactions to robots, and help us develop design recommendations for future telepresence robots. We will also discuss the potential societal implications of telepresence robots we are designing.