Robots That Care: Socially Assistive Robotics and the Future of Work and Care

Maja Mataric, University of Southern California (USC)
Host: Johns Hopkins Department of Computer Science

The nexus of advances in robotics, NLU, and machine learning has created opportunities for personalized robots toward supporting human activities in daily life. The current pandemic has both caused and exposed unprecedented levels of health & wellness, education, and training needs worldwide, which must increasingly be addressed in homes. Socially assistive robotics has the potential to address those and longer-standing care needs through personalized and affordable in-home support.

This talk will discuss human-robot interaction methods for socially assistive robotics that utilize multi-modal interaction data and expressive and persuasive robot behavior to monitor, coach, and motivate users to engage in health, wellness, education and training activities. Methods and results will be presented that include modeling, learning, and personalizing user motivation, engagement, and coaching of healthy children and adults, stroke patients, Alzheimer’s patients, and children with autism spectrum disorders, in short and long-term (month+) deployments in schools, therapy centers, and homes. Research and commercial implications and pathways will be discussed.

Speaker Biography

Maja Matarić is Chan Soon-Shiong Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at USC, founding director of the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center and interim Vice President of Research. Her PhD and MS are from MIT, BS from the University of Kansas. She is Fellow of AAAS, IEEE, AAAI, and ACM, recipient of the US Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring from President Obama, Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision, NSF Career, MIT TR35 Innovation, and IEEE RAS Early Career Awards. She is active in K-12 and diversity outreach. A pioneer of socially assistive robotics, her lab’s research is developing personalized human-robot interaction methods for convalescence, rehabilitation, training, and education that have been validated in autism, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and other domains. She is also co-founder of Embodied, Inc.