Design and study of social robots for diverse user populations with UNICEF
Computer Science Major (School of Informatics, Computing, & Engineering)
Selma Šabanović (Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering)
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. We are also exploring how UNICEF's understanding of children's rights can be incorporated into the design of social robots and their integration in children's everyday contexts. Our lab is committed to using research and technology to help empower diverse populations, so many of our projects involve co-design activities with participants, as well as observation, interviews, and in-lab user studies. 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.