Teruko Yata Memorial Lecture in Robotics

  • Gates Hillman Centers
  • Rashid Auditorium 4401
  • Assistant Professor
  • Robotics Institute
  • Carnegie Mellon University
SCS Distinguished Lectures

Understanding Human Behavior for Robotic Assistance and Collaboration

Human-robot collaboration has the potential to transform the way people work and live. Researchers are currently developing robots that assist people in public spaces, on the job, and in their homes. To be effective assistants, these robots must be able to recognize aspects of their human partners such as what their goals are, what their next action will be, and when they need help---in short, their task-relevant mental states. A large part of communication about mental states occurs nonverbally, through eye gaze, gestures, and other behaviors that provide implicit information. Therefore, to be effective collaborators, robots must understand nonverbal human communication as well as generate sufficiently expressive nonverbal behaviors that are understandable by their human partners. Developing effective human-robot interactions requires a multidisciplinary approach that involves fundamental robotics algorithms, insights from human psychology, and techniques from artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision. In this talk, I will describe my work on robots that collaborate with and assist humans on complex tasks, such as eating a meal. I will show how robots can guide human action using nonverbal behaviors, and how natural, intuitive human behaviors can reveal human mental states that robots must respond to. Throughout the talk, I will describe how techniques and knowledge from cognitive science help us develop robot algorithms that lead to more effective interactions between people and their robot partners.

Henny Admoni is an Assistant Professor in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where she leads the Human And Robot Partners (HARP) Lab. Henny studies how to develop intelligent robots that can assist and collaborate with humans on complex tasks like preparing a meal. She is most interested in how natural human behavior, like where someone is looking, can reveal underlying human mental states and can be used to improve human-robot interactions. Henny's research has been supported by the US National Science Foundation, the US Office of Naval Research, the Paralyzed Veterans of America Foundation, and Sony Corporation. Her work has been featured by the media such as NPR's Science Friday, Voice of America News, and WESA radio.

Lunch provided to all registrants. REGISTER

About the Lecture: The Yata Memorial Lecture in Robotics is part of the School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture Series. Teruko Yata was a postdoctoral fellow in the Robotics Institute from 2000 until her untimely death in 2002. After graduating from the University of Tsukuba, working under the guidance of Prof. Yuta, she came to the United States. At Carnegie Mellon, she served as a post-doctoral fellow in the Robotics Institute for three years, under Chuck Thorpe. Teruko's accomplishments in the field of ultrasonic sensing were highly regarded and won her the Best Student Paper Award at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in 1999. It was frequently noted, and we always remember, that "the quality of her work was exceeded only by her kindness and thoughtfulness as a friend." Join us in paying tribute to our extraordinary colleague and friend through this most unique and exciting lecture.

Hosted in conjunction with the National Robotics Week.