British Computer Society Lecture - Creating Robots That Care

Time: 18:00 - 19:30

Venue: BCS Headquarters Southampton Street, London

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Speaker: Professor Maja Matarić, University of Southern California

Each year the British Computer Society holds a lecture to honour the pioneering work of Karen Spärck Jones by celebrating a prominent female computing researcher. This year Maja Matarić will present 'Creating Robots That Care '. Dr Matarić is the Professor and Chan Soon-Shiong Chair of Computer science, Neuroscience & Pediatrics; Founding Director at the USC's Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center; and Director of the USC's Robotics Research Lab.

Abstract

How can human-robot interaction be improved by making robots more socially intelligent? This is the key question at the heart of socially assistive robotics (SAR): a new field of intelligent robotics that focuses on developing machines capable of assisting users through social rather than physical interaction, in order to encourage people to have the drive and motivation to do their own work, for improved health and wellness. Our research brings together engineering, health sciences, neuroscience, social, developmental, and cognitive sciences to create robots that can serve as coaches, motivators, and companions. This requires personalising human-robot interaction through appropriate speech, gesture, and body language; the embodiment is the most important even without physical work. Our successes include coaching stroke patients to perform rehabilitation activities, helping children with autism to learn social skills, encouraging teens at risk for type-2 diabetes to exercise, motivating first graders to make healthy food choices, and helping elderly patients with Alzheimer's disease to stay engaged.

Biography

Dr. Maja Matarić is inspired by the vast potential for affordable human-centred technologies, especially socially assistive robotics, as means of improving human quality of life. Founder and director of the Interaction Lab at the University of Southern California, her research is aimed at endowing robots with the ability to help people, especially those with special needs. She is passionate about conveying the importance and promise of interdisciplinary engineering research and careers in STEM to all who should know more, including K-12 students and teachers, women and other underrepresented groups in engineering, the media, and policy makers.

The event is open to all and free to attend, please register your place via the link below.