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 on how people attribute lifelikeness and various social characteristics to robots. We are currently working on several projects relating to social robot design and evaluation that CEWIT students can contribute to, based on their own research goals and interests. In a project in collaboration with Honda Research Institute, we are working on exploring design concepts and developing social skills for an empathetic robot companion that can provide cognitive stimulation, opportunities for social connection, and entertainment for a wide variety of users, from older adults, to children, and office workers. Research activities for undergraduates on these projects include learning how to work with, program and control robots, recruiting and scheduling participants, running participants for studies in and outside the lab, going to relevant field sites with robots to observe human-robot interaction, collecting and managing textual, audio, and video data, discussing study design, results, and implications, attending regular lab meetings, and working closely with other faculty and students engaged in the project. There is a possibility for participating students to continue working with the group following the CEWIT REUW experience through other funding sources.

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, work on controlling and programming robots, and help us develop design recommendations for future robotic technologies. We will also discuss the potential societal implications of the robotic technologies we are developing, and how we can empower participants in our studies through different research methodologies.