"A Robot Just for You: — Personalized Human-Robot Interaction and the Future of Work and Care"

Thursday, June 8th @ 11am

FAH 3002 - Zoom https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/92099821298 

Speaker:  Maja Matarić

Seminar Abstract

As robots become part of our lives, we demand that they understand us, predict our needs and wants, and adapt to us as we change our moods and minds, learn, grow, and age. The nexus created by recent major advances in machine learning for machine perception, navigation, and natural language processing has enabled human-robot interaction in real-world contexts, just as the need for human services continues to grow, from elder care to nursing to education and training. This talk will discuss our research that brings robotics together with machine learning for user modeling, multimodal behavioral signal processing, and affective computing in order to enable robots to understand, interact, and adapt to users’ specific and ever-changing needs. The talk will cover methods and challenges of using multi-modal interaction data and expressive robot behavior to monitor, coach, motivate, and support a wide variety of user populations and use cases. We will cover insights from work with users across the age span (infants, children, adults, elderly), ability span (typically developing, autism, stroke, Alzheimer’s), contexts (schools, therapy centers, homes), and deployment durations (up to 6 months), as well as commercial implications.


Maja Matarić is the Chan Soon-Shiong Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California (USC), and founding director of the USC Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center. Her PhD and MS are from MIT, BS from Kansas University. She is Fellow of AAAS, IEEE, AAAI, and ACM, recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics & Engineering Mentoring, Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision for Innovation, NSF Career, MIT TR35 Innovation, and IEEE RAS Early Career Awards, and authored "The Robotics Primer" (MIT Press). She leads the USC Viterbi K-12 STEM Center and actively mentors K-12 students, women and other underrepresented groups toward pursuing STEM careers. Her university leadership includes serving as vice president of research (2020-21) and as engineering vice dean of research (2006-19). A pioneer of the field of socially assistive robotics, her research is developing human-machine interaction methods for personalized support in convalescence, rehabilitation, training, and education for autism spectrum disorders, stroke, dementia, anxiety, and other major health and wellness challenges.