Maja J Matarić
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California, USA
As robots become part of our world, 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 major improvements 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, positively impacting user health and quality of life. We will discuss work that brings robotics together with machine learning for user modeling, signal processing, and affective computing in order to enable robots to understand, interact, and adapt to users’ ever-changing needs. The talk will cover methods and challenges of using multi-modal interaction data and expressive agent 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 (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 J Matarić is Chan Soon-Shiong Distinguished Professor of Computer Science, Neuroscience, and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California (USC) and the founding director of the USC Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center. Her PhD and MS are from MIT, and her BS is from Kansas University. She is Fellow of AAAS, IEEE, AAAI, and ACM, recipient of the US 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). Her university leadership includes serving as the Vice President of Research (2020-21) and as Engineering Vice Dean of Research (2006-2019). She leads the Engineering K-12 STEM Center and actively mentors and empowers students, women, and other underrepresented groups toward pursuing STEM careers. A pioneer of the field of socially assistive robotics, her research is developing human-machine interaction for personalized support in convalescence, rehabilitation, training, and education for autism spectrum disorders, stroke, dementia, anxiety, and other major health and wellness challenges.